An unusual death notice, published in The Mercury classifieds on Wednesday, was written by a former Addington Hospital nurse, giving instructions to her family and friends about funeral arrangements, or lack thereof, and requesting a raised glass to celebrate her life.
Durban North’s Jennifer Curry, 80, spent her last days before she succumbed to cancer, telling her family she wanted to be cremated and “was adamant she did not want a fuss”.
Curry’s notice read: “Jenny Curry, ex-sister at Addington Hospital, passed away after living too long. No funeral and no memorial but, my friends, I would love for you to lift a glass of something, preferably champers, to me at 6pm on the Friday after seeing this notice and wish me well. I shall be counting heads and glasses. God bless you all and thanks for all the memories. Love you.”
Her brother, Milner Erlank, 82, said on Friday would be the day they would honour her three wishes.
“Her request was that we publish a notice inviting those friends still alive to drink a toast in her name, that a verse she loved be read after she died and that she be cremated,” he said.
Erlank said Curry’s wishes were a result of her experience with funerals she had attended.
“I remember her saying way back that a particular funeral upset her so much. She never attended another and said goodbye her own way; maybe that is one reason she is asking friends to say goodbye her way,” he said.
Curry was born in Mthatha and died in the Highway Hospice in Durban last Friday. A short and simple committal service was to be held on Thursday attended only by relatives, friends and caregiver Mavis Masizana, who looked after her to the end.
Curry worked at Addington Hospital from the 1950s and retired about 10 years ago.
Erlank said: “In her retirement and especially in later years as a patient at the hospital (Addington) she loved, she mourned the deterioration in standards, nursing and cleanliness, that she observed.”
Her son, Bruce, 55, said: “One thing that amazed us was her generosity; she had a small pension and yet was still able to share it with others in need, her family and friends, even buying bird seed for her beloved garden birds.”
Curry leaves behind sons Bruce and David, her brother Milner, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.