A daughter celebrates her father
(Download a PDF version of this eulogy. If you need to access Adobe PDF Reader, it is available here.)
Dad was the light of my life. Even as a little girl, I remember him making me laugh so much I would nearly cry. He had a wicked sense of humour that rubbed off on anyone that was near him. No one was upset around Dad for too long – although he did have his serious side, too, of course.
Dad grew up in the country, on a dairy farm a few hours from Melbourne called Toora and was surrounded by sheep, farm animals and beautiful landscape. But his love for the written word drew him to the ‘big smoke’ to study literature at Trinity College in Melbourne. He said his passion came from his grandfather who used read endlessly to him. Stories that even as an adult he loved dearly and would read to us when we were kids. His favourites were Moby Dick and Tom Sawyer.
My parents met at Trinity College and after graduating, decided to get married. Two years later I was born, followed by my brother Charlie a year after that.
Dad was always so caring and giving to us children. Even when we ran in and out of his office a million times interrupting his writing, Dad never got too angry. He would usher us away with suggestions of how we could occupy ourselves – always with creative and new ideas.
Dad was also inspirational to us, with his passion for music. He loved most types, but his favourite was Neil Diamond. On Sunday afternoons, we would gather in the lounge room and Dad would put on his ‘album of the week’. He would pull Mum in his arms and dance around the room while we clapped hands and giggled... and then it was our turn. Dad would grab us both and swing us up and around until we were sick with laughter and dizziness. The fun we had on those Sundays, I will never forget.
Dad was a very clever man and could be introspective at times when there were serious decisions to be made. He never made rash decisions, but thought long and hard before giving us advice – sound advice that has helped to shape my life profoundly. He was always walking around saying that “life is too short to be hunched over a desk all your life, you must go out into the world and experience its beauty and learn its mysteries”.
Even as adults Dad inspired us, although we never really told him. Every couple of months the family would receive invitations to one of his infamous week-ends away. He would find a mystery location – always near a river or the ocean, and send us directions at the last minute. We were prepared, as we had learnt years ago what the week-end would involve. We would pack everything needed to go swimming, fishing, snorkelling, or if in the winter months bushwalks and sightseeing– it was always a week-end of fun and activity. Times that we all and especially the grandchildren will never forget.
Dad: Your love, your patience, your understanding, your wisdom and your amazing sense of humour will live on inside us forever. You have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world. Goodbye, Dad. You will always live on in my heart.