PHYLLIS Elaine Broughton was born in Gunnedah, NSW, on November 4, 1940 - the fourth of five children to Ruby and Leon Southwell.
Leaving school at the age of 15, Phyllis worked with her father at a blacksmith/engineering shop and Esso service station.
During her school years Phyllis excelled at sports, especially running, winning the 1954 best girl athlete cup.
When Phyllis met Lionel, he stole her heart. They married on July 13, 1962, at Quirrindi.
They lived at Spring Ridge for about three months before moving to the Queensland property, Pengarra, to take up share farming.
In June, 1970, they bought a house on Porphyry St and moved in to Springsure, remaining at the same address since and replacing the old house with a new one.
Phyllis and Lionel were blessed when Kay was born in 1963, Kerrie in 1965, Barry (deceased) in 1970 and Glenn in 1972.
When Phyllis's children threatened to run away, she always said she could catch them, which was probably true.
Later, when she wasn't well and couldn't catch them, she told them they had to come home and eat sometime, where punishment was surely dished out.
During her illness with heart problems, Phyllis lived with relatives in Tamworth for six months before finally getting the phone call to say a donor heart was available.
Given only six weeks to live, it was November 2, 1987, when Phyllis received her new heart.
"Phyllis was number 87. Dr Victor Chang was supposed to do the operation, but the heart got held up in Melbourne for three hours so Dr Esmore went and got the heart and Dr Spratt did the operation," Lionel said of the celebrated surgeon's understudies at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.
"I can't recall how long the operation was but I left her about nine and I came back at three, and she was out."
Given a new lease on life, Phyllis continued to enjoy her sport, especially tennis and bowls, going on to play in the Transplant Games for lawn bowls in 1989 in Melbourne, 1991 in Bathurst and 1993 in Toowoomba.
Phyllis ran the Tambo Road school bus for 29 years with only a brief interruption of 18 months while recovering from her heart transplant.
She finished in July, 2002, because Queensland Transport finally realised she had a new heart fitted 20 years prior.
"We had to go and see the boss of the heart transplant unit, and he asked what Phyllis did," Lionel recalled.
"When he found out she drove the school bus, he said, 'you can't drive the school bus, not no more'."
In the past five years, Phyllis's health began to deteriorate and the couple had to endure many trips to Brisbane and Rockhampton. Phyllis often said she'd had enough but, true to form, she battled on. Even though she had put off dialysis, she finally decided to give it a go.
On Friday, July 13, Phyllis and Lionel celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Sadly, four days later on July 17, Phyllis gave up her brave fight.
Phyllis is survived by her husband Lionel, Kay, Kerrie and Glenn and grandchildren Rebecca, Isobelle, Lana and Heidi.
For further information about organ donation, visit the Australian Organ Donor Register or Transplant Australia.
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