Eulogies for dad

Example eulogy - Traditional eulogy for dad

Duty, decency, reliability, honour, dignity, respect: these are all qualities that my father not only held in high esteem, but practised every day during his time on this earth. He was a serious and disciplined man, but he could never resist the opportunity to have a laugh with friends and loved ones, given half the chance.

He saw a lot during his lifetime: a world ravaged by war, (he was himself served in the armed forces in Vietnam), and an uncertain world with the Cold War, the Oil Crisis, and Iraq all understandably influencing his views on the post-war world in which he himself grew up and, later, raised his own family. Let alone the social and cultural revolution exploding around him with the onset of the 1960s.

Dad was an only child, who lived in and around Sydney up until his retirement from the motor industry, where he moved with Mum to the Central Coast. They married young – at age 20 – and remained happily together for over half a century. When free of their parental responsibilities, Dad would whisk Mum off for some mad adventure, often without her knowing where they were going.

As a father of three though, he was often happiest when left to his own devices – whether it was building a shed, tending to the garden, or fixing one of his cars. He was a self-professed petrol head, and loved nothing more than jumping in the car and driving – sometimes for hours – for some much-needed relief and relaxation from a family of five. More often than not, he wouldn't be gone for that long, but admitted that he loved driving so much, he looked for any excuse to have a spin. His precious Austin Healey was his most prized possession – a car that he drove till the day he died.

When Susan, Claire and myself moved out of home and started families of our own, I began to understand my father in new way. We were able to find time to sit and discuss what it means to be a parent, particularly in a modern world that’s fast-changing and very different to the one in which either of us were born. Dad gave sage advice on everything from teaching my kids manners and responsibility, to the other important area of family life: keeping one’s partner happy and the marriage healthy and alive.

Dad was a straightforward man who demanded little from those around him, and who expected only the best for his three children. Provided he heard regularly from us all – and saw us whenever possible – he was content. And although in his final years, we’d all moved on to different parts of the world, that bond was never broken.

To me, Dad’s finest quality was his patience: an inherent ability to listen, to absorb and to offer a point of view based on quiet, measured wisdom. I’ll never forget the time when I asked him what I should do about having to move overseas for my career: “Do what you feel, what you believe is right. Follow your gut, your heart, and you can’t go wrong.”

It’s difficult to imagine him not being around and I’m not sure how we will all cope. The grandchildren, Billy and Leo will miss him dearly. It’s strange to think that I can’t just give him a call or pop around to have one of our good old yarns. Dad lived a long and happy life, and only succumbed to ill health right at the very end. He was an imposing figure of a man, a tall, dark, handsome character whose reassuring presence we all felt during difficult times.

As we gather here today to remember and commemorate his life, let bid him farewell as we mourn the loss of a lively, dignified soul. A soul that brought joy and fulfilment to many, and whose legacy will live on forever.


Example eulogy - Daughter celebrates her father

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 bush walks 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.