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Some people come into your life and leave an indelible impression. They make your life brighter and the time you spend with them special. Such a person was Ivy Dahler.
Ivy Charlotte Marjorie Dahler was born in December, 1923. She grew up in London, left school at 14, taught herself to type and offered her services to a government agency during World War 2. In 1944 she married Roy Tomlinson, an Australian pilot, and came to Australia on a cargo ship in 1945 as one of the first war brides. Indeed, the war ended while the ship was still at sea.
They settled in Chinchilla on the family property and had two daughters, Patricia and Beverley. Life for Ivy here was a far cry from what she had been used to in England, but she quickly adapted to the new circumstances. Sadly Tom never fully recovered from his war injuries and died in 1951. Later Ivy remarried, to Kevin Dahler, and had two more daughters, Denise and Robyn. When her second husband died shortly after Robyn was born, Ivy had to bring up the four girls by herself and returned to her work as a secretary. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Ivy became interested in bridge during the 1960s, but gave it little time then as she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her young family. Ivy was strong on priorities. In 1966 she was persuaded to contest the Queensland Women's Pairs with Nancy Penfold and the win was the start of a long and impressive competitive record.
We came to know Ivy through bridge championships. The first was in 1972 when Ivy represented Australia at the World Women's Teams Championship in Miami. She competed in the Women's Olympiad again in 1976 in Monte Carlo, as well as the Venice Cup (World Women's Teams) in 1978. Ivy also played for Australia four times in the Far East Women's Teams, winning the title three times. In addition, she won several national championships, including the Australian Women's Teams, the Interstate Women's Pairs and the Interstate Mixed Pairs. In 1986 she captained the Queensland Team to success in the Interstate Women's Teams Championship.
Particularly impressive about this exceptional record is the fact that Ivy began bridge relatively late in life. Almost all players of international class are introduced to bridge as children or during their teens. The fact that Ivy played at world level after having started only in her forties is a tribute to her mental prowess.
Ivy's performance at state level was equally illustrious. Her titles include the Queensland Open Teams, Open Pairs, Mixed Pairs (twice) and Women's Pairs (seven times) as well as many congress events. At a very early stage in her bridge career Ivy involved herself in teaching bridge and also helping in the administration of the game to become one of Australia's foremost Tournament Bridge Directors.
Ivy was cast in a different mould. Whether it was coaching or directing, she sought no recompense for her services. She always felt that bridge had given her so much pleasure that she was happy to put something back into the game.
For the past 15 years, Ivy was an integral part of our bridge holiday program, organizing and directing tournaments twice daily, both in Australia and overseas. She also came regularly to the morning classes where she was happy to make up a table and assist with the teaching.
Ivy was ever ready to answer questions and to help players sort out the problems they had encountered. She was friendly to everyone and dearly loved by all the participants. When thanks were given to the organizers at the final session of each holiday, the applause was loud and sustained and longer for Ivy than for anyone else.
Ivy was a very humble, kind person and hated a fuss being made of her. She would downplay her achievements and become embarrassed when her victories were recounted. She never touched a drop of alcohol in her life and was unshakable on matters of principle.
Ivy often stayed with us in Sydney. She was loved, not only by us and our children, but by all the members of our family. Some years ago she was very pleased to learn that she had become an honorary member of the Klinger family.
Ivy had a great sense of humour. She loved a good laugh, but hated jokes that were off-colour. On our bridge holidays, when the day's sessions were over, the three of us would regularly unwind with a game of Chinese Poker, which often had us in fits of laughter.
Not well known is that Ivy was a sensational table tennis player in her young days and retained this talent into her late years. On one of our bridge holidays the Resort Sports Pro challenged Ivy to a table tennis game. The bridge players stood on the sidelines and cheered as Ivy, then in her 70s, won the match comfortably in straight sets.
There is a lovely story about Ivy from her very young days when she was one of the Girl Guides selling programs for one shilling at the Royal Albert Hall in London. A gentleman in uniform with many medals approached Ivy and asked for a program. "One shilling, please, sir," she said. "But I have no money on me," he said. "Iím sorry, sir," she replied. He walked off and a little later another gentleman with also much regalia approached and bought a program for a shilling. As he left he said to Ivy, "Young lady, His Majesty King George wishes to let you know that he thinks you were quite right not to give him a program."
Ivy had been a Tournament Director at the huge Gold Coast Congress a week before she died. She was remarkably strong and her mental acuity was incredible right up to her final days. She could recall complete bridge deals that had been played quite some time ago and discussed how a better result might have been achieved.
Ivy passed away on 6th March. She was a marvelous friend to many, many people. We are so grateful that our paths crossed and our lives intertwined. Hers is a rare breed and she will be sorely missed. We wish her family long life.
Ron & Suzie Klinger
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