Notes for OLIVE HARPER LOVELOCK:
Olive Lovelock was born in 1908 in Crushington, near Greymouth (New Zealand), where her father, an Englishman, was manager of a gold mine. The family moved to Fairlie. As Olive always had something of the reserve associated with the English temperament, she spoke little of her childhood, but it was apparently a very happy time. I gathered she was keen on sports, a family characteristic, for her brother Jack later distinguished himself in the 1936 Olympics. She learnt the piano from her mother and played the harmonium at the local church. A few months ago, a Fairlie classmate, after eighty years, wrote enquiring after her, remarking that "Olive was a very special person to all" and that "she was always prepared to help others wherever she could." She certainly retained this attitude throughout a long life.
Because of tragic circumstances, her family life was largely limited to childhood. At the age of 14, while a boarder at Timaru Girls' High School, she learnt of the sudden death, in his fifties, of her beloved father. This proved to be a traumatic experience for her, badly affecting her health. Jack left the country as a Rhodes Scholar to become a doctor and was killed, in 1949 at the age of 39, in a subway accident in New York. In the meantime, her other brother, Jim, had lost his life during the War. Her mother was chronically ill and had difficulties bringing up the three young children.
I first met Olive in 1938 when we both worked at 4ZB in Dunedin. Ill health had forced her to leave university for the less demanding work of a receptionist, and this bodily frailty was a burden she carried all her life. She would love to have been a nurse, but this was not possible.
As a result of these difficult experiences, the question uppermost in her mind was a very basic one: "What is the meaning of life?" With the confidence of youth I was sure that the answer could soon be found in books on philosophy or psychology, so the search began. However, the possibility of more convincing answers came from an unexpected quarter, for we soon heard of Anthroposophy through Mary Stuckey, the mother of a close school friend and the leader of the Dunedin group. So began a lifelong study.
Marriage followed in 1942 and Olive became a devoted mother in 1944. Constant ill health restricted her possibilities of travel and a more active social life, but as the wife of the General Secretary from 1963 until 1992, she was extremely supportive and made many willing sacrifices, including choosing to live alone for a year when the Society proposed sending me to Dornach (Switzerland?). She also acted as hostess to many visiting lecturers and fellow members.
Many who had grown to know her over the years have recently written of the qualities they admired in her: her ever-welcoming hospitality and generosity, her warm interest in life and people, her sense of humour, her gentleness, consideration and tact. She was an excellent listener and perhaps as a result of her own difficulties, she showed deep compassion for those with troubles. She was a very enthusiastic gardener with a great love of flowers and the countryside, especially the mountains.
Olive had an intense interest in poetry and taught herself German in order to enjoy German lieder. This led to many hours of translating Rudolf Steiner's work. In music she was a good pianist and was particularly affected by the slow movements of...Beethoven. But her greatest love grew to be eurhythmy and she threw herself--heart and soul--into the work in Hastings initiated by Alice Crowther in the 1950s.
She had a very strong will but as her frailty limited her outer activities, she applied it to intense inner work based on Anthroposophy. Extremely honest and self-critical, she developed remarkable self-discipline. Confined to a wheelchair and being completely dependent on nursing care as a result of a stroke two years ago (1994), she was initially very frustrated, but gradually accepted her lot and endeared herself to the nurses by her courtesy and constant expressions of gratitude for their help. She passed away peacefully on 18 September (1996).
--Brian Butler's eulogy