LORNA Tan’s family and wide circle of friends recall her love and vitality when they see a butterfly — that’s the way she wanted it.
One of the parting wishes for the energetic Warrnambool resident who recently lost her battle with multiple myeloma at the age of 58 was “remember me when you see a butterfly”.
She was an accomplished art teacher and careers adviser as well as tai chi teacher, bagpipe player, guitarist, painter, photographer, knitter, crocheter and scrapbooker.
“Every now and then we come across a special person who touches the heart and warms the soul and all at once we realise we are in the presence of a wingless angel,” one of her sons, James, said.
Her other son Damien said “I am sure she is the only angel who knits, paints and does tai chi, but also indulges in playing bagpipes and doing Crossfit on the side”.
Born in the Allansford district, Lorna was educated at the former Allans Forest Primary School, Warrnambool Technical School, Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education and Melbourne State College. She became an art teacher before moving to Malaysia in 1981 with her husband Boon Peng.
There she threw herself into the community in the historic town of Melaka and learnt the Hokkien dialect.
She became involved with volunteer work with disabled children and taught them art and craft and volunteered at the local international school.
In her leisure time she enjoyed tennis and squash and was once state squash champion.
They moved back to Australia in 1987 and settled in Warrnambool where she worked in the job placement industry and later became a careers adviser helping students.
She also helped teach tai chi in various classes around Warrnambool. Her Saturday morning sessions in the botanic gardens are continuing.
“I will always love Lorna for her strength, courage and her smile,” Boon Peng said.
“Lorna was heart-warming and positive in spirit especially in her final hours. Knowing she left us peacefully surrounded by her loving family is of great comfort.”