Sample Memorial

Long tribute to a housewife

Jane Thomas

The homemaker wife and mother is perhaps the least celebrated role in a society preoccupied with professional and material success. However, their contributions are no less important in the lives they impact. Jane Thomas is one such person who has made an indelible imprint in the lives of many who had the privilege of being a part of her family.

Jane, 65, passed away on 20 November 2013 at Changi General Hospital, Singapore, after suffering from a fatal stroke. She is survived by her husband, Joseph Thomas, son Jack, daughter Jennifer, three grandchildren and four siblings.

The oldest of five children of a welder father, Peter Fernando, and seamstress mother, Betty, she was born on 20 January 1948 in a Kampong in Changi on Singapore’s eastern tip. It was the early post-war period as Singapore struggled to rebuild itself amidst civil disobedience and political turmoil. Poverty was rife.

Amidst this unsettling situation, her parents worked tirelessly to make ends meet and to provide a roof over their heads. In their growing years, the Fernando children often did odd jobs to make an extra buck for the family. Jane often chose to help her mother with her seamstress jobs and developed a passion for sewing that would stay with her throughout her life.

Denying herself the opportunity to attain a formal education, she spent her days being a caregiver to her siblings when they were very young. However, she never once lamented the responsibility thrust upon her, instead choosing to shoulder them with quiet grace. Even as an adolescent, she displayed a remarkable sense of maturity, filial piety and devotion to her family.

It was this unassuming demeanor that first endeared Jane to her husband-to-be whom she met in 1965 when Singapore became a sovereign nation following separation from Malaya. Joseph, who worked most days with his father at their family-run sundry shop, reminisced fondly, “She used to come by our shop with her siblings every week. Sometimes they would want sweets and she would not have enough money, so she would save up for the rest of the week just to buy the sweets for her two brothers and two sisters.”

Joseph eventually asked for Jane’s hand in marriage when she turned 19 in 1967. Soon after, they started a family of their own.

As a mother, she showered her children with an endless supply of love and affection. “Whether it was cooking special dishes for us, sewing our clothes, sending us to school or caring for us when we were stricken with illness, our mother was unwavering in her attention and commitment to the family. The well-being of her family was her sole preoccupation, even when she was sick”, said daughter, Jennifer.

Jane understood the importance of a good education and ensured that her children were given every opportunity to succeed in school. While she was not able to help her children with their schoolwork, she was always by their side to provide them with something far more precious - emotional and moral support. Perhaps, her proudest moments were being at her son’s and daughter’s university graduation ceremonies.

She was the very heart of the Thomas family. As a tireless and selfless wife, mother and grandmother, she was always available for calm advice or a shoulder to cry on. Her quiet demeanour belied her fortitude and resolve in everything she did in her life. She was always the pillar of strength in the darkest moments of her immediate and extended family.
The humble woman who lived a life of simplicity with her days centered on providing a warm, loving home for her loved ones had one all-consuming indulgence - the soap operas she watched each evening, a brief escape from life’s daily realities.

A devoted wife and mother, a doting sister and an altogether wonderful person, Jane’s greatest accomplishment was her capacity to demonstrate such selfless love, and to inspire the same in others.



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