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Commercial teacher promoted work experience for students




27-11-1919 7-6-2011

SYLVIA Eagle, who like many women during World War II had a massive increase in responsibility and as the senior secretary just about ran the Institute of Architects until the men returned, has died in Box Hill Hospital. She as 91.

After the war she changed jobs and worked as the personnel officer in Holeproof, where she met her future husband, Lysle Eagle. A variety of other jobs followed over the next few years, interspersed with helping to care for her terminally ill parents.

Sylvia was born in Footscray to Rose and William Shaw, who ran a corner store in the suburb, and was educated at a number of schools around the Kew area, including PLC and MLC. She began doing office work in the 1930s.

In 1953 she reconnected with Lysle, who was raising two sons alone after their mother had died of cancer. Sylvia married into a ready-made family, and in time a son was added to the family. But then Lysle's business collapsed, he had his first heart attack, and they were forced to sell their house.

Sylvia needed to work, so, with her knowledge of business and its procedures, she became a well respected commercial teacher despite having no official tertiary qualifications.

A key idea she helped instigate was the process of work experience for senior students a new concept in high schools in the 1960s. Sylvia remained a teacher until age forced her to retire nearly 20 years later, three years after her husband had died.

She got on with life and became a foundation member of the Ashburton Legacy group, looked after toy poodles, joined many social groups, and travelled around Australia.

After a major heart operation in the early 1990s, she sold the family home of 30 years and moved into a retirement village, and became known as "the lady who walks the little white dog".

Sylvia is survived by her son Bill.

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