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Clare Nowland laid to rest

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Devout Catholic Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old woman with dementia, died a week after being shot with a taser by police in her Cooma nursing home. Photo: Supplied
Devout Catholic Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old woman with dementia, died a week after being shot with a taser by police in her Cooma nursing home. Photo: Supplied

Ninety-five year old grandmother and great-grandmother of 60, Clare Nowland, who died after being shot by a police taser, has been remembered at a Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Cooma.

Mrs Nowland’s funeral on 13 June commemorated the life of a devout Catholic of “deep faith, with a beautiful soul.”

More than 450 family and friends gathered from across Australia to celebrate her long life and focus on her contributions to her local community, her love of family as well as golf and her beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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Her favourite hymn Ave Maria was performed by a string quartet as her wooden coffin was carried into the church adorned with a simple floral display.

Celebrated by long-time family friend Fr Mick McAndrew, the 150-year-old stone church was filled with tears and laughter as attendees heard stories of her incredible life.

Described simply as a “tragic episode”, there was little mention of the cause of Mrs Nowland’s passing, coming a week after she was shot with a taser by police in her Cooma nursing home.

“Yes, it’s a tragedy, but it’s also important we remember Clare for her long life and the way she lived it,” Fr McAndrew told The Catholic Weekly after Mrs Nowland’s funeral.

“It revolved around family, faith, friends, and forgiveness as well as a great sense of fun, and I think that was the secret to her long and happy life.

“She had a terrific sense of humour and could be a bit of a devil at times and loved nothing more than playing a joke on people.

“I still smile when I would see people react to the life-sized cardboard cut-out of her hero, Greg Norman, in her loungeroom.

“But despite all the fun, she was also a woman of incredible giving.

“She was a president [of Cooma] Vinnies for more than 30 years and helped set up her local store.

“She also gave much of her own time to those in need, and for many, many years after attending Saturday night Mass, she would visit local cafes and any food they didn’t sell she would drop off to those less fortunate in the community.

“That was just the type of woman she was, and I will always remember her for her prayer life, sense of giving and terrific sense of humour.”

One of twelve children and had eight herself—Michael, Denis, Bede, Gerard, Jenny, Lesley, Kerry and Gemma—Clare was blessed with more than 60 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She almost single-handedly raised her children after husband Patrick died when she was only 38, and did ironing, babysitting and took in washing to help make ends meet.

Despite her hectic schedule, she always made time for the St Vincent de Paul Society where she volunteered for over 55 years, as well as helped feed residents at the Sir William Hudson Memorial Centre.

After a lifetime of giving, Clare was laid to rest at the Cooma Lawn Cemetery.

A policeman will face Cooma Local Court on 5 July charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.

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