Married in St Catherine’s Church, Pekina, on August 18 1956, Kathleen and Jude spent their first few years together at Laura, Port Pirie and Renmark before making what Jude described as “the best decision of their lives” and moving to Adelaide.
After two years in a Housing Trust home at Enfield, they bought a house in Clearview for their family of seven and have been there ever since.
For the past 57 years, Kathleen, 85, and Jude, 91, have been stalwarts of the Clearview parish (now Clearview-Kilburn), from working bees in the days when their children attended the parish school to today when Kathleen can still be found welcoming people to Mass, organising prizes for ANAWIM dinners (pre-COVID) and serving on the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) branch.
Kathleen has been a member of the CWL for nearly 40 years, including four years as State president from 2004-08, and is currently branch president and honorary life member. She is also a member of the Australian Christian Women (ACW).
Former Clearview parish priest Fr Leon Czechowicz told The Southern Cross that Jude and Kath “symbolise what we would describe as ‘good Catholics’ – very supportive, dedicated to the Church and very involved in helping other people”.
“From my 14 years at the parish I can say, categorically, that they were very strong in their faith, very committed to the Church and the parish, and from my knowledge this extended over the whole time they were in the parish, including during the 30 years that Fr Jim Sayers was parish priest and before that Fr Rob Sutherland,” Fr Czechowicz said.
“Anything Kath put herself up for, she gave her heart and soul to it; she has been a powerhouse of support for the priest.
“Two words come to mind for them – reliable and very committed.”
Jude was born in Booleroo Centre and was living in Wirrabara when he met Kathleen, the eldest of Kit and Matt Clarke’s nine children. After finishing school Kathleen worked for Jude’s ‘Aunty Gladys’ and the pair started dating at a local dance.
After working on a farm at Laura for several years, Jude worked as a truck driver in Port Pirie for two years and then as the manager of Patterson Furniture Store in Renmark. Their first two children, Theresa and Leo, were born in Laura, followed by Pauline in Port Pirie and Michael in Renmark.
In 1963 Jude was offered a job with Northern TV and Radio in Adelaide and while Kathleen was in hospital giving birth to their fifth child, Bernadine, Jude bought the house at Clearview.
”All I was worried about was did it have enough bedrooms for all the children,” Kathleen said.
Another attraction was its close proximity to the Good Shepherd Church and St Gabriel’s School which all five children attended before the boys went to St Paul’s College and the girls to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College.
Being able to educate their children at Catholic schools was a significant factor in their move to Adelaide, having both been raised in strong Catholic families.
While the children were at school, Jude helped at working bees and maintenance for the school and parish as well as serving on Parents and Friends and ANAWIM committees. He worked in real estate for 15 years and then bought a truck and started a furniture removal business.
Looking back on 65 years of marriage, the grandparents of 10 and great grandparents of “nine and three quarters” agreed there had been good times and bad, “with plenty of arguments in between”.
“I think the whole thing is that we have our disagreements but we compromise at the finish and we work everything out,” Jude said.
“We’ve got one another all the time.”
Kathleen and Jude will celebrate their anniversary with a family dinner at Hahndorf, and the parish is planning a blessing by Fr Selva in their beloved Good Shepherd Church.
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