Hilda Maud Pressland (“Lou”)

1913 – 2004

Beloved great grandmother, grandmother, mother, wife and sister, joins her cherished husband Keith Pressland in death today.

The last of my grandparents died in hospital in the U.K. today at the age of 91, after suffering a massive stroke about 10 days ago. She was a constant loving force throughout my childhood from my earliest memories onwards. She used to bring us sweets (candies in American) when she visited several times a week, and I can’t remember a family Christmas at which she wasn’t present.

In my early memories, Nanny was still married to my mother’s father, Stan Minnis, but lived (“in sin,” as she used to joke) with her boyfriend Keith Pressland out of wedlock: It was still a pretty big deal in those days, but even as a child I always admired her bravery in leaving a loveless marriage to be with a truly wonderful man that she loved deeply, and who loved her equally deeply in return. Years later, as an awkward adolescent, I went to their wedding.

Keith, who we fondly called “Uncle” (and shown below in a 1987 photo), died in 1996 at age 73, and Nanny was heartbroken. Many in the family suspected that she would follow him shortly afterwards; she used to talk about dying so that she could be with Keith (she was not a devout Christian, but did believe that she would be reunited with her husband after death).

Nanny spent her last year at a managed living facility, where she retained her independence and dignity by living in her own space, but where there was also plenty of help nearby, and an active social scene with some of her old friends. I believe she was very happy there — the picture above was taken just four months ago in the communal gardens at her new home.

Goodbye Nanny, we’ll miss you very much. I’ll drink a glass of Bailey’s at Christmas in your memory.

3 thoughts on “Hilda Maud Pressland (“Lou”)

  1. Pammy Clarke

    Auntie Lu
    There will be a Christmas card that will be sadly missed this year. Auntie Lu never forgot,I received a card from her every year, regardless that we had physical contact only once in the last 50 years when she and Keith came to Australia in the 80’s. What a lady she was, I will never forget the talks we had that weekend I spent there in Melbourne, a true aunt in every way. Auntie Lu, Rest in peace and enjoy your after life with your beloved Keith. You will not be forgotten, Love Pam Clarke (Niece

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  2. Anonymous

    Auntie Lu,
    I saw you more than most of my family but not as much as I should have just as I never wrote the amount I knew that I could have. Knowing you though that didn’t matter. You were a great old lady that always welcomed me when on those rare occassions I turned up unexpected at your door.
    We spent time at Carols’ together with Keith in my early years in the UK and you both took me into your lives as if I had been here all my life.
    I’ll miss you but know that you will be happy to be back with Keith now. You will also join dad and be able to say a long overdue G’day to him from everybody.

    Chris

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  3. Anonymous

    I saw Nanny in Lister Hospital just over a week before she died. From reports I was not really expecting Nanny to recognise me, but to my joy, there was life in her eyes and the suggestion of a smile more than once. I sat there with Vicki and Mum for two hours, and the time flew by.
    Nanny was a constant source of love and support, and brought with her a sense of belonging and incredible tolerance. She had a wonderful sense of humour, which I came to appreciate recently with her tales of the Poultry Club! I am sure she died contently and through choice on her gently vibrating bed.
    I will always remember my cuddly, warm and loving Nanny. Send my love to ‘Uncle’.

    Sharon (grandaughter) and family.

    Reply

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