Monthly Archives: May 2020

Lalus Summers a Gt-Gt-Grand Daughter

They say you can’t keep a Stanaway down. Currently with most of the world in lockdown over Covid-19, I am please to inform you all about a descendant of JJ Stanaway who not only contracted the deadly virous but survived – all at the age of 92 years young!

Lalus Summers (nee Castle – the daughter of Lennis Castle nee Stanaway) at the age of 92 was interviewed on WSB TV in the States when she went home the other day after 33 days in Emory Hospital in Atlanta. She had other underlying health issues but successfully recovered from Covid-19.

Report By: Christian Jennings WSB TV2 ATLANTA
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A 92-year-old DeKalb County woman survived COVID-19 and hopes her story gives others hope.

She spent 33 days in the hospital.

A few days after she got out, she spoke with Channel 2′s Christian Jennings about what got her through.

“Home is the best medicine and I’m just very thankful to be here,” said Lalus Summers.

Summers did her hair and put on lipstick for our interview. She said she feels like her spry self again. She was released from the hospital on May 11.

The 92-year-old has come a long way since this time last month when her family feared they may never see their “Nanna” again.

“I guess I thought I was going to die. Thankfully I didn’t,” Summers said. “I was just praying that I wouldn’t.”

Lalus Summers

After developing a fever, Summers took a COVID-19 test. On April 9, the results came back positive and she was admitted to Emory University Hospital.

“She could only last on the phone for about three minutes and she finally said, ‘Leslie, I’m just so tired. I love you,’ and she dropped the phone and that was just so scary. She was so weak,” said her granddaughter Leslie Elliott.

Summer’s daughter and granddaughter said by April 13 she was given just hours to a few days to live.

“You feel very helpless. You can’t be there, you’re not face-to-face with her or the doctors or anything but she somehow rallied,” said daughter Jane Summers Going.

The family said when she was at one of her lowest points, a nurse played a YouTube video for Summers; an Andrea Bocelli performance live from Italy, knowing Summers is a lifelong lover of opera.

“It made a difference to let her remember and hold onto something other than ‘I’m in a hospital room and I have an oxygen tank,’” Elliott said.

Lalus Summers2

She felt the love and embraced it and it strengthened her.

“In a time where we have seen so many suffer, and the future remains uncertain, we also stand in awe of people like Ms. Summers who still have much to teach us about resilience,” Emory Dr. Raymund Dantes said.

Lalus Summers is Great-Great-Grand-Daughter of Capt. John James Stanaway

  • Capt. John James Stanaway
  • William Stanaway
  • John James (Jack) Stanaway
  • Lennis Castle nee Stanaway
  • Lalus Summers nee Castle


Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death


The Stanaway family story has been enshrined in Caroline Barron’s book Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death (Bateman NZ, June 2020).

John James Stanaway and Witaparene Minarapa were Caroline’s great, great, great grandparents. The twist is, she didn’t find that out until she was in her late 30s. She spent subsequent years tracing her family history—to Tokatoka where J J’s grave is, and to Kohukohu where he first arrived—eventually leading her to Ripiro (Baylys) Beach.

This is one powerful read. I found it riveting, at times confronting, moving and passionate. It’s a very brave book.

Dame Fiona Kidman

A vivid and profound journey into family secrets and the unknowable past. 

Paula Morris, author of award-winning novel, Rangitira

An unflinching, revelatory journey into the author’s family past, and also her own psyche.

Owen Marshall, author of award-winning novel, Harlequin Rex

Caroline’s emotional intelligence lights up all those deep dark wells of motherhood. I saw myself, and so many mothers, in these words: the heartbursting glorious hardness of it all.

Catherine Woulfe, Books Editor, The Spinoff

This book of yours is going to be well received. Your journey, both physical and spiritual, emotional and cognitive, tells a New Zealand story, a story that is inclusive, and that is the greatest gift of all. Thank you Caroline. There will be many who see themselves in your pages.

Rosetta Allan, award-winning author of Purgatory and The Unreliable People

Ripiro Beach is a sincere, well-written and very savvy memoir. 

Nicholas Reid, review on Reid’s Reader blog.

Barron’s courage to keep turning towards that which caused so much pain, confusion and damage, in pursuit of authenticity, connectedness and the soft glimmer of new joy, is something to behold. This could be any New Zealand woman’s story, for make no mistake, it is a uniquely New Zealand story. It is everywoman and yet it is intensely personal and, as the blurb says, ‘relentlessly honest’. 

Brenda Channer, Martinborough Bookshop Facebook review

Your book is absolutely beautifully written, with universal themes, and has profoundly affected me in a positive way . . . I now know my way forward through the gaps.

Sally, Parnell

It has been a long time since a book has given me pause and every few pages, I found myself going on little memory journeys surrounding Dad’s adoption and some dark history as well. I am sure your book will have a positive impact with anyone that reads it, as it did for me.

Guy, Titirangi

For more information or to buy a copy, please visit her website:

Author Photo 2020

Caroline has offered to sign and inscribe each book bought by Stanaway whānau—just mention it in the notes when you purchase. Ripiro Beach is also available at all good bookstores.