Durie Hill identity Jill Scott lived nearly all of her 92 years in the suburb and her family is comforted that their mum got her final wish.

Twenty years and one day before Jill died on August 23, she appeared in a Wanganui Chronicle feature about Durie Hill, speaking about her love of the suburb.

"I won't leave here. They'll carry me out of here in a box," she said.

Jill spent her final morning as she did every weekday - sitting at her kitchen table, watching the kids going to school and waving to people going past. She hated the school holidays when the streets were empty.


She slipped quietly away on August 23, sitting at the kitchen table, part-way through her morning cup of tea.

Jill Allyn La Roche was born in Whanganui on February 24, 1926 to Clarence and Ann Isabelle La Roche. She had two older sisters, Zona and Pam, and a younger brother, Jack. Clarry La Roche was a New Zealand Croquet Champion in the 1940s and in 2015 was inducted into the Croquet New Zealand Hall of Fame.

Eldest sister Zona Carthy is 97 and lives in Whanganui. Second sister Pam Benson died aged 95 in February this year. Jack died in 2004, aged 77.

The family grew up in Maxwell Ave, Durie Hill. Jill went to Durie Hill School then took a commercial course at Wanganui Technical College. She worked in various office jobs over the years.

Jill married Roy Douglas Scott on May 31, 1947 and the couple had four children, Lyall, Brian, Annette and Wendy. Roy died in 1992 and Jill's Whanganui-based children, Brian and his wife Eileen, and Wendy and her husband Ross Wingate, were a great support to their mum during her last 26 years living alone on the hill.

"Lyall and I are so appreciative of their input over the many years since we left Whanganui in the early 1970s," daughter Annette Scott said.

Jill was active in many community organisations and her church was especially important to her.

Annette Scott looks at a 1998 <i>Wanganui Chronicle</i> feature about Durie Hill which includes a story about her mother Jill Scott.
Annette Scott looks at a 1998 Wanganui Chronicle feature about Durie Hill which includes a story about her mother Jill Scott.

She was a devout Christian all her life. She attended St Barnabas' Sunday School on Durie Hill and was in the church choir from the age of 9 until the mid-1980s. As a teenager, she taught Sunday school and she remained a member of St Barnabas' Church until recent times. Husband Roy was involved in building the church hall extension.


Jill and Roy were married at St Barnabas', daughters Annette and Wendy also married there and Jill wanted to have her funeral there if the church was still operating. Annette says Jill would be sad that the church is now up for sale.

Jill was involved in Girl Guides and was a Brown Owl for Brownies. Her many other interests included Troubador Marching Team, Durie Hill Plunket, Kindergarten Association, Durie Hill Swimming Club, Boys & Girls Gym Club, Garrison Band (where Roy was a life member), 60s Up, Operatunity, line dancing, Trim Line exercise group and a needlework group.

Another interest, and one more reason she loved her Durie Hill location, was cycling. Son Brian is a competitive road cyclist and, in the early days, the family followed in the car when he was racing. In later years, Jill enjoyed watching the cyclists when races started and finished on Durie Hill, just near her home.

Annette says Jill had always been "so independent" but she stopped driving in January this year.

"Since she stopped driving, she declined. She got really tired but she still had her wits about her and was still texting people.

The <i>Chronicle</i> story in which Jill Scott said she would never leave Durie Hill.
The Chronicle story in which Jill Scott said she would never leave Durie Hill.

"We are all so very thankful that her prayers were answered and she passed away watching those children walking, and many driven, to Durie Hill School. What I've learned is that everyone knows her because she was always there, sitting at the table in the sun or in the garden or in the shed.

"She loved Durie Hill. I think it was the community, the people. There are so many memories, it's quite heartwarming. We've been very blessed."

The family wanted to thank the people involved in Jill's funeral service which Jill had planned herself. Jill had requested close family friend Sue Little took the service and her husband Roger played the organ, and that the funeral director was Craig Cleveland whose family also had close connections with the Scotts.

Jill was buried at Aramoho Cemetery with husband Roy and just along from their lifelong friends George and Ngaire White who lived in Durie St.

"The four of them had pre-booked their plots together," Annette said.

"Dad wanted his near the road and toilets so everyone passing could stop and chat, like he did for almost 30 years camping at Ohope Beach and to everyone who ever wandered past the house in Portal St."

Jill is survived by her four children, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and sister Zona.