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Zest for life and a remarkable faith

Obituaries

June Janzso - Born: June 1 1923 | Died: November 30 2020

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June Elizabeth was born in Sydney to William and Jeannie Foglia, an identical twin to Gloria. They were baptised at St Joseph’s Church, Woollahra. Their older sister Lucy was 14 when they were born.

As happened then, June’s mother didn’t know she was expecting twins. The first name that came to mind after she was born as the second twin was June, being the first of June.

The Foglia family moved to Cornish Street, North Glenelg in 1926, near the Old Gum Tree. June and Gloria started school at the Dominican Convent Glenelg in 1928 and finished with their Intermediate Certificate. Many of those school friendships endured a lifetime although June outlived them all. The Dominicans and the parish became her life.

The Foglia family didn’t have an easy life; it was a very strict household and money was often scarce especially through the Depression. But everyone was welcome and provided with a meal and clothing especially if they had nothing. It often meant the family went without. Christmas was a time when strangers just appeared, always welcome. This is how June lived her life to the end. Her home was always open to everyone – priests, nuns, friends, the church community, neighbours and, of course, family.

The young twins walked to school and home every day, rain, hail or shine, even though it was a significant distance. On Sundays, holy days and for other events, they walked to Mass, always fasting beforehand. They were given a treat of one penny each on Sundays and after Mass went to the ‘milko’ on Jetty Road to buy a ‘penny cup’ of milk each.

In their happy teen years, the twins were always together and with friends whether it was tennis, the beach, picnics, horse riding on the beach at Brighton or welcoming nuns to their home. They were stunning, popular girls. Their huge loss came when they were just 20, losing both parents in less than a year. This had a great impact on them.

The three sisters joined the army at wartime, where June became a nurse. After the war, in the late 1940s, June went to London with her friend Kath Johnson and also travelled extensively through Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. What an adventure that was for a single woman at that time! June remembered in vivid detail every basilica, cathedral, church, convent and monument she visited. A highlight of her time in London was being presented to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) at a garden party at Clivedon in Berkshire, which was considered the centre of political and social life at the time. June returned to Australia in 1951.

June married Joseph Janzso in 1956 and they lived in North Glenelg with their abundant aviaries, following the love of birds from her father, as well as Burmese cats and Dachshunds.

June moved to Glenelg in 1984 where she was so happy to be near ‘her’ church. Our Lady of Victories has seen the celebration of every event since for June and her family; baptisms, first communions, confirmations, weddings and finally, funerals. In a sense, the church and its community, and the Dominican tradition, has been the very hub, the core of her family members’ lives but especially June’s. Simply put, her faith was remarkable. She felt privileged knowing that Fr Stephen Ardill would be celebrating her funeral Mass. She has known him since a baby and was very close to his mother Peg, and the whole Ardill family.

June had great strength of mind and of spirit, and her love and zest for life brought great joy and inspiration to many. She was a strong feminist for her era, a great advocate for women’s roles in the Church, for the rights of single mothers, for domestic violence survivors. She would voice her opinions strongly but was always prepared to listen to other sides of an argument and never judged. One word that was repeated over and over in her life was ‘forgive’. ‘Always forgive, one must always forgive and love,’ she would say.

She worked so hard during her married life and didn’t drive so walked long distances every day and catching buses to work, mostly in medical practices. Sadly, her husband Joseph was diagnosed at a young age with Alzheimer’s. She cared for him selflessly and compassionately, and became very involved in the first Alzheimer’s group in Adelaide. Joseph died in February 1989 only three months after June lost her twin sister Gloria.

June is survived by her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Denis, their children Clare and Mark, and her great grandson Myles; her son Paul and daughter-in-law Chris, and grandson Alistair and his three children.

June adored her family and was grateful for all the help she was given, particularly over the past few years.

Her involvement at Our Lady of Victories is evident in the tributes that flowed from fellow parishioners. She was tireless in what she did but never wanted recognition or thanks.

June died peacefully, keeping her sense of humour to the end as she chastised with a smile the pastoral care worker for not knowing the feast day shortly before she died.

She will be deeply missed by all who knew her but none more than her precious family.

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