Pallbearers leave St Johns College Woodlawn following a requiem mass and servive for Joanne 'Jo' Ethell.
Pallbearers leave St Johns College Woodlawn following a requiem mass and servive for Joanne 'Jo' Ethell. Doug Eaton/Northern Star

Hundreds turn out to adventurer's funeral

THE loving heart and adventurous spirit of one of Lismore's favourite daughters filled the chapel of St John's College Woodlawn yesterday during the funeral of 20-year-old Joanne Ethell.

On the morning of Thursday, December 18, Ms Ethell was giving a flying lesson to 18-year-old Chandrika Gaur in a 152 Cessna aircraft above Sydney, when their plane collided with a single engine Liberty.

The two men in the second plane managed to land safely, but Ms Ethell's plane plummetted into a house in the suburb of Casula, killing both young women instantly.

But at the moving service yesterday, Ms Ethell's family celebrated the gift of her life and offered prayers for Ms Gaur's family in India.

The service was made more special with Ms Ethell's uncle and Anglican chaplain, the Reverend Dougall Ethell from Perth, assisting alongside Father Paul Pidcock and Deacon Graeme Davis.

St John's Chapel overflowed with the hundreds of people touched by Ms Ethell during her short life.

Her mother, Kay, offered words of remembrance, outlining her daughter's many interests and achievements.

Mrs Ethell described her husband's pride when Joanne received her pilot's licence before her driver's licence - something she had wanted to do since the age of 12.

She recalled happy family holidays and the relationship that blossomed between Joanne and Daniel Rodger early last year when he became her trainer while she was studying to become a flight instructor at Cessnock.

“As well as providing Joanne with a loving relationship, Daniel also supported her tremendously in preparing for her exams,” she said.

Apart from flying, Ms Ethell's pursuits included waterskiing, snow skiing, kayaking, trekking and surf lifesaving, culminating with her receiving the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in November from NSW Governor Marie Bashir.

Mrs Ethell ended by asking everyone in the chapel to hug a loved one next to them in remembrance of Joanne's love of life.

“Joanne showed us we shouldn't waste a minute of life.”

As Ms Ethell's casket was brought down the chapel stairs, flying colleagues from Bankstown and Cessnock lined the steps, and mourners placed pink-tinged frangipanis - Joanne's favourite flower - on her casket in tribute.



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