Pamela M. Cousland (née Thomas), 64, of Chatham, NJ passed away on Monday, October 15, 2018 at home, surrounded by her family. Pam was born in Mildura, Victoria, Australia, on July 6, 1954 and spent her early years in nearby Merbein. She later settled in Melbourne and worked as an accountant before becoming a high school teacher in Hamilton, Victoria. In 1980, Pam married Greg and soon after they started a family in Melbourne.
In 1987, she and her family moved to Chatham, NJ. After spending a few years at home raising her daughters, she attended County College of Morris and started a new career as a registered nurse, working in the Oncology department of Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ for 20 years. In 2007, Pam and her husband relocated to London and later to Montréal. They enjoyed exploring their new cities and traveling as much as possible in their free time. They returned home to Chatham in 2011.
Throughout her life, Pam was an avid reader and enjoyed crafts. She was also an excellent cook and baker and loved preparing special holiday celebrations for the people she loved. She spent many hours walking at Loantaka with friends, and, in her earlier years, she played a lot of tennis.
Pam was predeceased by her parents, John and Gladys Thomas, and father and mother-in-law Jack and Mabs Cousland. She is survived by her loving husband of 37 years, Greg Cousland; daughters Fiona and Michelle Cousland and Michelle’s husband, Andrew Durkin; brothers Brian and Bob Thomas and Bob’s wife Mary; and a large family of aunts, uncles and cousins back in Australia. She also leaves behind cherished friends around the world.
A Memorial Service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 11am at Chatham United Methodist Church, 460 Main Street in Chatham, NJ. There will also be a visitation on Friday, October 19, 2018 from 6-8pm at the Wm. A Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main Street in Chatham, NJ. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Pam may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at kidney.org.
At the end of each year, we had 2 big events at Sunday School. One being a formal occasion where we would both get a fancy new dress to wear – mostly dresses with stiffened petticoats and a satin sash around the waist made by our mothers on treadled sewing machines. Aunty Glady would wrap Pam’s hair in rags to make it curly for the special occasion.
The best thing about Sunday School was our end of the year picnic when we would all be loaded into a cattle truck to go on some outback adventure. No seats or seat belts in those days, so we would laugh our heads off as we fell over each other (except for one poor kid who couldn’t stomach the smell of the previous cattle passengers or the roughness of the ride and would vomit everywhere).
On one or two occasions we went to some huge red sandhills and spent the day sliding down the dunes until our shorts filled with too much sand to walk. Mothers would have contests to see who could throw a rolling pin the highest up the dunes or a running race and, judging by the fact that my mother at 89 can still remember the name of the woman who beat her in the running race, the women were very competitive.
Another time, we went to a beautiful lake and would swing on a willow tree into the water. We felt secure in the country myth that it was only city kids would drown in our country rivers or open irrigation channels, as there were no mobile phones in case of an emergency in those days.
As we were like sisters, there were moments when we envied things the other had. For instance, when we were probably around the age 7 or 8, Pam was given a pair of ballet slippers that could FLY. Well, according to Pam they could FLY, so I was desperate to FLY in them (and gullible enough to believe they could FLY despite the fact Pam hadn’t offered any proof they could). I pleaded with her to let me just take a quick flight to the top of the swing, but she refused. So, it was very pleasing for me, to read that Pam helped out in a Soup Kitchens in her adult life - surely to make amends to me for her childhood indiscretions!
On another occasion, Pam was sick of having plaits, so we decided to cut them off. I say we as we were at her house and only she knew where the scissors were kept, so I assume it wasn’t just my idea to then cut them off as revenge for the flying slippers dispute.
Love to you all,
Pam’s cousin Pauline and her loving Aunty Gloria Farnsworth