The first and only female mayor of the former Beaudesert Shire, Joy Drescher is being remembered as a tireless advocate who secured much-needed services and infrastructure for her local community.
She was also a passionate supporter of the arts and a much-loved member of the local government family.
Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) president and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said Drescher’s passing would be felt throughout the region as well as throughout the wider Queensland council community.
“Joy Drescher was a committed representative of her community whose legacy will be remembered fondly and for some time,” Jamieson said.
“Our thoughts are with her family, friends and community during this difficult time.”
First elected as a councillor in 1979, the Cunnamulla born Drescher would ultimately serve in public office across three decades, elected five times, twice as mayor.
She also holds the distinction of being the former Beaudesert Shire Council’s last mayor, before the local council amalgamation of 2008 created the Scenic Rim Regional Council.
The man who replaced her, the former mayor of Boonah, John Brent, said there were vigorous debates between the two when the councils were joining and new names were up for discussion.
“Being the passionate advocate for her community that she was, Joy wanted it be the Beaudesert Regional Council,” Brent recalled to InQueensland.
“In the end the argument was won on the basis of ensuring we included all those little valley communities of the Scenic Rim, which would prove vital in the years to come in re-making the region as a tourist destination.
“And that for me summed up Joy – she was never afraid to express her views.
“Her forcefulness at times would create some division in the ranks, but at the same time it was her good-natured way that would achieve the breakthrough and it was always the community first, never about Joy.”
Former LNP Opposition Leader turned Goondiwindi Mayor, Lawrence Springborg, said Drescher was an inspirational figure on the conservative side of politics, who always commanded attention at the party’s yearly conventions.
“It wasn’t so much for what she said, but how she said it,” he said.
“She had a way of painting pictures with words that ordinary people could understand.
“In many respects, she was her own personal brand, long before that term was even used and that’s why people voted for her – they knew what she stood for and they could identify with her values-driven ideals that transcended party politics.”
Other political figures have recalled her colourful turn of phrase, equally matched by her colourful wardrobe, fine array of spider-themed fascinators and changing hair colour.
Federal Member for Wright and Assistant Minister for Transport and Regional Infrastructure, Scott Buccholz said Drescher’s gift was to live life to the full and “not take yourself too seriously”.
“There is no doubt Joy was a colourful figure, who had no problem in expressing her opinion, or eclectic wardrobe,” he said.
“A personality that you were instantly drawn toward, like a moth to a light, even if it was just to hear her unique laughter. Joy’s enthusiasm for life and community was infectious.”
LNP Member for the state seat of Beaudesert, Jon Krause, described her as a “legend”.
“Rotarian, raconteur, wearer of great hats and the most identifiable and infectious laugh going around is what I’ll remember,” Krause said.
“Thank you Joy for your years of service to the community and also to the LNP. You will be missed.”
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