Obituary by David Lord
Essie Tremewen was the matriarch of The Grove Uniting Church – that is not in doubt. According to her daughter, Margaret Tremewen, I was her ‘toyboy’, the difference in our ages was a mere 14 years. In ringing the Tremewen home, I would simply say ‘toyboy here’.
How I have enjoyed the phone calls, the visits to Whittens Lane and working with this amazing woman. For 14 years we worked together, Essie was secretary, I was chairperson of the then-church council. We joked that we made beautiful music together.
As secretary she had a way of committing words to paper, be it a congratulatory letter or a formal letter to officialdom.
Her strong faith, and dedicated service to the Grove Church was like no other; for longevity of time, 68 remarkable years and holding many leadership positions, some from the inception of the organisation. She taught Sunday school, and was a steward then an elder for as long as I have been at the Grove.
She was indeed a stalwart of the church, being a strong worker at the fete we held every two years.
She loved singing and enjoyed the Christmas carol service, where she donated the candles that lit up as we waved them in the dark, and was a long standing member of the choir, even taking over leadership when Betty Fox retired. Essie was a member the special women’s choir formed in the early days.
Essie performed with the Grove Players, they produced Cinderella. There is a photo of Essie standing on the platform in a very short very pink tutu, that photo will stay with me forever.
The writing of the History of the Grove that we published in 2006 would not have been possible without her encyclopaedic memory of people and events.
Her presence on the committee organising the 150th year celebration was invaluable for providing names of people who should be invited and their current addresses.
Essie was one of six ladies – Nance Ormston, Minnie Warr, Jean Burgess, Dorrie Krahe and May Hamilton – who travelled once a month to the Carlton Mission to prepare lunch, providing fish, mashed potato, and hot soup. They distributed flowers to those lacking a garden at home.
Essie and Nance also worked at the Charity Shop at the corner of Whitehorse Rd as well as the one in Station St supporting Orana Children’s Home.
She was President of the Young Women’s Fellowship formed in1950, The Friendly Circle and was chairperson of elders.
She has left us a lasting legacy, inspiring us here at the Grove by demonstrating the power of one person having the faith, the love, the service, and the dedication for this Church.
Essie has left us a lasting visual legacy, having donated the beautiful, lead light window in the Sanctuary, in memory of her mother Mrs Esther Crellin, Esther being Essie’s middle name. She was a mentor to elders and ministers alike.
As Essie had a way with words, it seemed appropriate that she write the introduction to the History of the Church 150 years on.
She wrote, “we hope that you will wander down memory lane with its memories, some sad, some glad, of the times of worship, fellowship, service and fun that we have experienced over the years.”
Yes Essie, we will wander down that same memory lane, with so many happy memories of your faith, and remarkable years of service to this Church that you loved and served for so long. You have inspired us all. We will not see the likes of you again.
To meet her was to admire her,
To work with her was to respect her,
But to know her was to love her.
This is the tribute given by David Lord at the Thanksgiving Service for Essie Tremewen on 12 May 2015.