As my close friends refer to him, my dad, BIG John, passed away on Friday the 21 January at 9.49 pm.
Dad was born in 1938 at Benella to my grandfather, Burt, a Gas Engineer from the Isle of Wight and Mary, my grandmother, a diary farmers' daughter in Colac. He was the youngest of four children and had a special relationship with his sister Babe, who is some ten years his senior, and his only surviving sibling. My sister Alison and I were very grateful to be with him as he took his final breath. We had spent the last weeks of his life reminiscing with many friends and family members.
Dad was 6 foot and 4 inches, a tall man who played in the Ruck for Balwyn with a nickname of Buddy (long before it became fashionable in Australian rules). He overcame some significant obstacles, including an absent father, the passing of Judith, my mother in 1977 and then my beautiful souled stepsister in 2008. He enjoyed life immensely, and his warm laugh would travel across a room. BIG John remarried Loris. They spent 43 years together, and they loved travelling Australia. Upon retiring, almost every winter was on the beach in Kingscliff, in Northern NSW.
His legacies will live on in our family.
It is more important to do the right thing rather than be right
Kindness in the most challenging circumstances is almost always the best approach
Look forward, speak fondly of the past but don’t dwell on it
There are always two sides to any story; listen to both
Humour can help put things into perspective, laugh at yourself and with others but not at others
Think before you speak. He spent many weekends outside thinking about the working week ahead and how best to approach the most complex situations
Quietly distance yourself from those who are energy-draining; avoid making a scene, and if needed, choose to speak privately to them
Treat everyone the same, regardless of who they are or what they do
A night out is better than one in (he loved people and socialising)
If it is important, put it in writing 😊
The photo above is of Alison, dad and me; check out his outstretched arms, holding us tight.