Tributes flow for vivacious Tin Can Bay conservationist
TRIBUTES have flowed for much loved Tin Can Bay conservationist Maree Prior who died at the age of 59 from a neuroendocrine tumour, surrounded by family and friends on Sunday night.
Mrs Prior grew up in Sutherland Shire in NSW where she spent her formative years, before studying a Bachelor of Arts/Education at Newcastle University.
A few years later she worked at a mission on Thursday Island and that's where she met the love of her life, Nick.
The pair married in Milton, NSW in 1989, and celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last week. They have two children Bonnie, 26, and Kelly, 24.
On their way back from Thursday Island, they stopped in at Tin Can Bay for a short visit where they purchased a catamaran. From their first visit to Tin Can Bay, the pair fell in love and soon relocated.
Her husband was still reeling from the shock loss of his adored wife.
"Maree was artistic, funny and was the life of the party," he said.
"She loved her Tin Can Bay community and was always active in improving the environment."
Mrs Prior worked with the Burnett Mary Regional Group as a project officer in Maryborough for the past two years.
CEO of BMRG and colleague, Sheila Charlesworth, said they were lost beyond words.
"Maree was a dedicated environmentally action minded person who desired sustainable outcomes for the community," Ms Charlesworth said.
"She was vivacious, supportive, friendly and very caring towards her colleagues. She was one of those gems you have in the community.
"Maree was enthusiastic, fit and sprightly and always willing to help.
"She will be sorely missed by those who knew her and our sympathies go out to Nick and his family at this difficult time."
She led many projects to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Cooloola Coast.
Mr Prior said his wife loved scuba diving and worked at the WA Maritime Museum.
She worked on high profile maritime archaeolgy projects such as Pandora Expedition and two Australian Bi-centennial expeditions in 1987 and 1988.
"She lived life to the fullest," Mr Prior said.
"We will miss her every day; she was an excellent mother, sister and aunty.
"I'd like to thank Little Haven Palliative Care for their assistance with Maree."
Friend Peter Campbell said Maree was a "true champion."
"A tragic loss. A champion soccer player, skier, scuba diver, artist, marine archaeologist (1987-88 underwater excavation of HMS Sirius, Norfolk Island), Australia Post stamp designer, environmentalist and person," he said.
"She was beautiful inside and out, with a wonderful spirit and a Jimmy Buffett fan.
"Many great and happy memories of the Billara Avenue days. Deepest sympathies to her family."
Suzanne Wilson said Maree will be remembered for the wonderful work she achieved on the Cooloola Coast.
"I will be on the island with a team on Friday so we will plant a mighty tree and remember you Maree," she said.
Her funeral will be held on Friday at Gympie Funerals, located at 236 Brisbane Rd at 2pm.