RHONDA Schipp was never afraid to step up and fight for what she believed in, whether it be keeping services in the country or retaining our current system of government.
But sadly Mrs Schipp’s fight for life came to an end on Tuesday when she succumbed to cancer, dying at the age of 84.
Born Rhonda Lange, she married Joe Schipp on November 13, 1954.
Their lives together included the raising of two sons, Daryl and Glenn, and a sharing of Liberal Party values, particularly when Mr Schipp was member for Wagga between 1975 and 1999.
“She was politically minded,” Mr Schipp said on Thursday.
“One member of parliament once told me you should stay out of Wagga, Rhonda will win the votes for you.”
A memorial service for Mrs Schipp will be held in St John’s Anglican Church next Friday, March 10, at 11am.
Mr Schipp spoke of how he had known his wife since she was 14 and how she had adapted to him being firstly a school teacher, then a small businessman, then a farmer and a politician, all the while raising two sons and being actively involved in the community.
Member for Wagga, Daryl Maguire, described Mrs Schipp as half of a partnership that served the community for more than 23 years while her husband was in politics.
“But it was much longer than that because long before and after Mr Schipp’s political career she was involved in many organisations,” Mr Maguire said.
Mr Maguire said Mrs Schipp was a fierce supporter of the monarchist system of government and made her views known.
“She was never frightened to tell you what she thought,” Mr Maguire said.
“She was opposed to making change (to a republic) for change sake and going into the unknown,” Mr Schipp said.
Former federal member of parliament, Wal Fife, spoke affectionately of the long friendship between the Schipps and he and his wife, Marcia.
“They have been friends, as well as party colleagues,” Mr Fife said.
“Rhonda’s contribution to the Liberal Party has been superb.”
Among the many organisations supported by Mrs Schipp were the Red Cross – she was patron of the Wagga branch – and the Country Womens Association.
“She was a great supporter of the CWA and what we do, and always had our interests at heart,” said CWA Riverina group president, Ann Adams.
George and May Bruce were a part of the Wagga branch of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy with Mrs Schipp for many years.
“She was very passionate about the cause,” Mr Bruce said.
“She had contacts with political people and she was able to bring very important speakers to Wagga.”
Mrs Bruce said Mrs Schipp more or less kept the local branch going.
“The was very enthusiastic, a very good friend,” Mrs Bruce said.
Mrs Schipp was born into a family that strongly supported the Liberal Party.
Her brother, the late Lloyd Lange, was a member of the NSW Upper House, and her father, Norman, signed the nomination form for Mr Fife to stand for the Liberal Party for the state seat of Wagga at the 1957 election.