CORAL Mary Bennett was born on October 2, 1932, to Sam and Irelene Dean.
The only child, Coral grew up in Alpha where she first exhibited her love of sports.
She played basketball and tennis and supported her father, Sam when he played football.
In 1950, Coral moved to Melbourne and met the love of her life, Harold George Bennett.
They had two sons, Tony and Allan.
The family moved to Alpha in 1956 to be close to Coral's Dad, and in 1958 the Bennetts welcomed their third child, Karen.
While in Alpha, Coral, a talented dancer, went to weekly Saturday night dances and, although Harold had "two left feet,” they enjoyed the nights out.
At this time Coral sewed for her growing young family.
Allan remembers how his mum sewed everything from bow ties to long pants for both himself and Tony.
Karen was decked in lace and bows and even frills on her knickers.
Coral wore the same kind of clothes with lace and bows, which she loved.
This love of sewing and creativity extended to her grandchildren, making even their pyjamas with ribs around the bottom.
Coral and Harold lived in Alpha until 1968 when they moved to Emerald.
For the next 25 years they ran the Mac's Meat Butcher shop on Hospital Road for Neil McCosker.
Harold started work early at the shop; Coral would join him later and after work it was off to the golf club, for a hit of golf or socialising with friends.
Although friends were an important part of their life, family always came a long way first.
Coral had a very special relationship with her children but an extra special rapport with Karen.
Coral was especially proud of the boys, Allan and Tony and their golfing abilities even keeping a meticulous record of their wins.
She and Karen had a close relationship; sharing a love of jewellery, gardening, cooking and children and grand kids.
Coral, although not employed, would spend lots of time at the Gateway laundry, just hanging out and chatting with all.
It was here that Coral's enjoyment of making friends was evident.
At times, life becomes tough. For Coral the loss of her grandson, Casey in an accident and her son Tony through cancer were such times.
Beyond work and family, playing golf and watching football were an integral part of Coral's life.
She and Harold were both members of the Golf Club.
Coral was club patron and quite possibly one of the longest serving members.
Coral was an A Grade golfer, good putter, and an excellent follow-through on her shots.
When at 80, she was knocking on the door of C Grade, she was not impressed.
Coral was a very generous patron and donated trophies for both Patron's Day and the Bennett Family competition day.
She chose the trophies carefully with her friends in mind, hoping they would be the lucky winners, which didn't happen often.
Another formidable passion of Coral's was rugby league.
She was a dyed in the wool Parramatta Eels supporter and a rabid blue's supporter.
Not only did she barrack for NSW she couldn't stand the Broncos and was quite vocal.
She loved to bet on the football with her friends Doug Staines and Peter Smith, among others.
And if the blues won, she would spray paint flowers blue and have them delivered to Peter Smith with great glee.
When it came to jewellery, Coral wore rings, bracelets and necklaces in abundance.
She loved her jewellery and enjoyed wearing it.
It was Coral's passion, no matter what.
Another passion, was shoes- high glittery heels with perspex fronts which she wore with panache.
For Coral, a source of great joy and comfort were her seven grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.
We can all remember Coral for her friendliness, generosity and appreciation of the thoughtfulness of others towards her and her family.
Coral's life was well lived and loved.
She was very much her own person and her epitaph could well be...
"I've lived a life that's full. I've travelled each and every highway.
"And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”
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