Small of stature, but big on life

Annie Luscombe with the open-hearted smile.

By Kath Gannaway

Anne Luscombe
13 May, 1942 – 18 November, 2017

Annie Luscombe may have been pint-size in stature, but she was larger than life in every other way.
Born in Sydney on 13 May, 1942, Anne Elizabeth Luscombe was the fifth of Roy and Amy Buzza’s nine children.
It was Healesville’s good fortune that Annie moved to the town as a young woman and stayed after meeting the love of her life, Brian Luscombe.
Annie was working at the local telephone exchange and Brian at the Army Base exchange so a conversation was inevitable … followed by a date to the local pictures.
They dated for a couple of years, with the pictures and dances at The Memorial Hall hot items on Saturday nights and were married on 24 August, 1963 in Melbourne.
Telling Annie’s story at a standing room only farewell at Heritage and Heritage Funerals in Woori Yallock on 23 November, celebrant Kirsten Gentle spoke beautifully of a woman she, like many in attendance, had known all her life.
“What a marriage it has been where love, laughter and friendship filled their days,” she said.
The Luscombes lived in Geelong for a short while, where Brian worked at the drive-in and driving buses before moving back to Healesville, with baby Michelle, where Brian began work for McKenzies Tourist Services.
They bought their first and only home in Harker Street in 1966 and around every two years added another child to the family – Graham, Robert, Gavin and Pauline completed the set.
Annie was a working mum, building a strong career with Telstra in Healesville, Croydon and Box Hill. She made friends wherever she worked, forming a special bond with many of her workmates at the Healesville Exchange, friendships which she maintained all her life.
A redundancy from Telstra in 1988 opened the doors to the world and she and Brian caught the travel bug.
They travelled the world visiting France, Ireland, Hawaii, America, Canada and Bali.
In 2003 she started work at the Healesville office of McKenzies, walking to walk every day and becoming the face of the company at the main street office, and on the phone. It was a job she loved, and which loved her.
McKenzies’ manager Brad Sanders spoke with affection and admiration of Annie’s love of the job, the unique qualities she brought to the office and how much she was loved by the McKenzies crew.
Graham spoke on behalf of the family saying his mum was the kindest, most loving person, who loved her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids with a passion not many could match.
“Life as a child of Anne Luscombe was great and over the past few days as the family reflected we laughed and cried, but mostly laughed at the wonderful memories we are left with,” he said as he launched into a lifetime of some of the best and funniest ‘Annie’ stories.
He said his mum wasn’t the best cook but her layered salad, pavlovas, apple pies and lemon meringue pies were her claim to fame in the kitchen.
Sunday roast was sacrosanct.
“Mum wasn’t just mum to us, she was mum to all our friends,” he said.
She did all the mum things, driving the kids to all their sporting events.
“One day she had the car full of baton twirlers and they had a car accident,” he recalled. “The policeman commented the only reason no-one was hurt was because there were way too many people in the car and no-one could move.”
She loved to party, was an unapologetic prankster and the laughter was just as she would have wanted as Graham shared story after story of her cheeky, mischievous antics.
When Brian took on running the local movies in Healeville, Annie was by his side and the picture theatre became a second home for the Luscombe kids.
It was the same when Brian took over running the local pool for a while.
“Growing up as Luscombe kids was great,” Graham said.
He said his mum was down to earth and while not one to look for or accept recognition for herself, she loved to see Brian stepping up for numerous awards over the years.
“Dad couldn’t have done what he has achieved without the love of his life supporting him 100 per cent behind the scenes,” he said.
Bingo, Facebook and the grandchildren were among her passions and she had a reputation for thoroughly spoiling her grandchildren without any apology.
Friday night sleepovers, including as much deep-fried food as the kids wanted, camping in the backyard and impromptu plays were all part of the fun.
Tributes by each of her grandchildren were moving and, as expected, also funny.
Annie was described as funny, gorgeous, incredible, wonderful, hilarious, delightful, bubbly, warm and … naughty.
She was admired by all who knew her and her courageous, no-fuss fight with cancer only served to build on that admiration.
Anne Luscombe passed away at 75 on 18 November, 2017. She will be greatly missed by her loving family and many friends.