Speech delivered by Hon Jeanette Powell during the Assembly before the members of the Parliament of Victoria
Thursday, 27 March 2014
Mrs POWELL (Shepparton) — I advise the house of the passing of a very special lady. On Monday, 24 March, I joined many community members and family at the funeral of Edith Dizon-Fitzsimmons, who passed away on Saturday, 15 March, at the wonderful age of 91 years. A number of emotional eulogies were given by members of Edith’s family and her great friends Lance Woodhouse and Gavin Doherty. They paid tribute to the contribution of and full life lived by this amazing woman, describing her as warm, caring, inspirational, generous, passionate, talented, beautiful and intelligent.
I drove Edith from Melbourne to Shepparton a number of years ago and listened in awe as she spoke about her life. John Lewis of the Shepparton News has beautifully documented Edith’s life. Born in the Philippines in 1922, Edith married D. Paulo Dizon and had six children.
During that time she learnt music, taught it and became the first female pilot from the Philippines. Later in Australia she celebrated her 70th, 75th and 80th birthdays with parachute jumps. When Edith’s husband died, she worked three jobs to keep her children at school.
Edith moved to Shepparton in 1973 after marrying Ray Fitzsimmons. Together they helped build Philippine House Museum and Library in Shepparton. In her 70s Edith travelled to the United States to complete a masters degree in music therapy. In 1998 she published a book entitled The Sky’s the Limit, about her amazing journey, and I have an autographed copy of it. In 2000 Edith’s face was featured in Australia Post’s Face of Australia collection. In 2002 she became Victoria’s Senior Australian of the Year. My deepest sympathy goes to Edith’s loving family and many friends. She truly was an inspirational woman.