The news will come as a surprise to many who knew her, as she only chose to confide in her family about the illness.
Libby will be most fondly remembered as the first full-time female announcer on 2NC radio, now known as 1233 ABC Newcastle. Employed (1976-1987).
She worked the morning shift, 9am to noon, in a time when 2NC began to define itself as a true local radio station.
Libby was somewhat of a pioneer and forged a real identity in the community she served. Her first role in radio was in Adelaide, ABC radio Adelaide, (formerly 5CL and 5AN), it was here she developed her skills with the microphone. Prior to that she worked at ABC head office in Elizabeth street Sydney in an administration role.
Off air, she immersed herself in the community, by attending many and varied events, all the while projecting the station's personable focus.
This made her an 'everyday name' within the Hunter and Upper Hunter regions.
Libby focused on topical news content within her radio segment, augmented by guest speakers from varied backgrounds. She covered architecture, gardening, law and council matters. Libby interviewed war veterans, museum and gallery directors, musicians, farmers and people from the rural community. She delivered weather crosses and talked about theatre and drama; the list was endless.
Libby interviewed many parliamentarians at local, state and national level. One notable interview was with former Prime Minister John Howard.
She will be remembered for her distinctive voice as well as being a wonderful listener and engager of stories. She had a knack for drawing out an interviewee to reveal an essence and insight.
Her show was balanced with conversation, interviews and music, which was one of her true loves.
Libby had a special interest in music and her favourites included Jimmy Buffet and the group 'Galapagos Duck'. She had an enjoyable working relationship with Don Burrows of the Don Burrows Quartet, a jazz icon of the time.
Libby was the President of the Newcastle Contemporary Jazz Club for almost 10 years during the 1980s, often acting as a presenter of the don Burrows Quartet shows when they performed in Newcastle.
Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Stevie Wonder, Dave Grusin, Blossum Dearie were just a few of her of favoured artists that she played and enjoyed.
She was an active supporter of music and at most concerts to the Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. Her love of live theatre meant she attended many of the Hunter Valley Theatre Company productions and Libby became friends and good acquaintances of the emerging theatre and actors of the time.
One such group was The Castanets Club #, which commenced in 1982 and was considered a proving ground for up and coming performers. She continued to follow actors Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsyth's, marveling at their talent and wit, and often said she 'should have managed Jonathan's career'.
Libby was generous with her time and was a familiar face at community events. She was a yearly judge of the Miss Showgirl competition at the Newcastle Show and a guest speaker in many of the fundraising and community clubs in the region. I think she once judge a talent line-up as well.
The visual arts was another area of interest and Libby was often seen working alongside her husband Mark Widdup, director of Cooks Hill Galleries. She was an invaluable support to the gallery and liked by all the artists and exhibitors. Libby described herself as 'more of an Indian than a chief', but this was not necessarily so as she was truly valued.
Libby and her husband have two children, Josh and Margot, whom will miss her dearly and in turn she will be missed by many, particularly her siblings Margaret, Rosemary, Peter and Bron.
Her family welcome your attendance at Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle NSW to celebrate Libby's life on March 24 at 2:30pm.
(No donations or flowers are requested)
# The Castanet Club Newcastle was the proving ground and before long a successful Comedy-Cabaret-Big-Band had crystallized around the nine core players: Stephen Abbott aka Johnny Goodman, the-MC, Glenn Butcher, doing lead vocals as the incomparable lounge lizard Lance Norton Angela Moore, as Betty B-Plate & Shirley Purvis, Russell Cheek, as Tron Wexler& Barnsey's roadie Doug "Gargoyle" Ormerod, Warren Coleman as Bowling Man and the sexually repressed Pastor Noel Anderson, Rodney Cambridge on drums, Penny Biggins, better known as Doris Crawley on accordion, Kathy Bluff, the Kid Kalamai on violin, Maynard.
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