Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand
[p11] [The Jeans Line]
talked to a large gathering of children on their day of celebration. He spoke of the significance of the flag, what it meant to a serviceman or servicewoman and what it meant to the Empire. He was active in the establishment of the Kiwi flats (housing for returned servicemen) in 1945. In September of the same year, as immediate past-president of the RSA Jim waited on the Cambridge Borough Council with the proposal that a lawn cemetery be established at Hautapu Cemetery, a portion of which would be set aside for a Returned Servicemen’s plot. This recommendation was unanimously received and in time came into being. When much discussion was heard in the town as to the form the memorial for the Second World War should take, Jim expressed the views of the RSA ‘that a memorial should be divorced from any civic scheme’ and suggested a shrine behind the Cenotaph in the Jubilee gardens should record the names of the fallen in the South African and the First and Second World Wars. As official delegate of the Cambridge RSA Jim attended the Dominion Conference in 1945 and brought back a detailed report. From 1946 Jim took a less active role in the Association but continued to attend the annual meetings and re-union nights. He was by now on the committee of the Cambridge Golf Club and for the years between 1947 and 1955 chairman of the annual RSA golf tournament. Jim gave much time and energy to the RSA organisation and in 1956 that service was recognized with honorary life membership.
In the Second World War Jim joined the Home Guard. In January 1940 he was appointed sergeant of No. 4 platoon and was gazetted Lieutenant on 5 March, 1942. The Home Guard was very active, engaging in field manoeuvres in various parts of the district, training to defend the country if the calamity of invasion should happen. The Waikato Independent of those years carry reports of their endeavours. In August 1945, in the Cambridge Magistrate’s Court, Jim was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace.
Jim played football when young and later cricket and tennis on a social level. He also played golf for some years; in June 1941 his handicap was 19. For some years he played lawn bowls at the Central Bowling Club. All in all he was a man of many interests and in his lifetime, served well his community and his country. He led a full and busy life enjoying the company of others and a round of drinks with his cobbers.
Dorrie was of a quiet reserved nature. While she supported Jim in his public activities, she herself preferred a quieter style of life. Dorrie did not learn to drive a car and this limited her outside interests. She played tennis in her younger days. The Waikato Independent of 22 March 1928 reported an inter-club match between Whitehall and Karapiro Tennis clubs, where Dorrie, with partners, won both the mixed and ladies’ doubles games. In the 1950s Dorrie and Jim were members of Whitehall Indoor Bowling Club and in 1953 with Reg and Flo Baldwin won the club’s championship rinks. In 1935 Dorrie was treasurer of the Whitehall Women’s Institute and was later on the social committee of the Women’s Division of the Farmer’s Union. Her community services were comparatively low-key compared to her husband’s, but his work with the RSA meant Dorrie was also involved on patriotic and social committees. Raising funds for parcels for overseas service-people involved her in the running of the Patriotic tea-rooms. She helped with the packing of those parcels throughout the war years and made cups of tea for the Home Guard. She served a number of years on the ladies social committee of the Returned Services Association and also on the committee of the Women’s Section of the RSA and for a time was vice-president. She had a deep interest in her garden. A member of the Lyceum Club, she particularly enjoyed the garden circle of that group. In later life she delighted in her glasshouse that she was able to tend for a few years before she was struck with her last illness.
Dorrie and Jim saw their elder son Wallace go to World War Two and safely return. Life gradually became easier. The farm was returning a better living and their younger son Bruce was taking over much of the hard work. In 1950 Jim semi-retired and was able to enjoy some years of leisure. He and Dorrie holidayed up north and later toured the South Island. They celebrated their Ruby wedding with a quiet gathering of relatives and old friends in November 1960. They had eight grandchildren; Jill, Gavin and Helen Kenny, children of their daughter Loris and Ces Kenny; David and Stephen Jeans, sons of Wallace and Dorothy Jeans and Bruce and Phyllis’ three children, Michael, Neville and Bronwyn. These last three were the eldest grandchildren and because they lived next-door on the farm, were the ones Jim and Dorrie saw the most.
With their health failing, Jim and Dorrie decided to leave Whitehall. The farm was sold to Bruce and they moved to the small grey house at 31 Thornton Road, Cambridge, opposite the tennis courts. Whitehall residents honoured them with a farewell function in the hall they had worked so hard for many years previously. However they had little time to enjoy their new life style. Dorrie had been less than well for some time and was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This sad, cruel complaint made Dorrie’s last years distressing and rather isolated. Jim cared for her as long as he could but eventually this became an impossible task. Dorrie spent some time in a private hospital and then some months in Hocken Wing at Waikato Hospital. She lost all movement as well as her speech. The last eighteen months were