“You Were Bloody Marvellous”: Remembering Dad

Upon meeting my Dad, it wouldn't take long for you to notice his big personality. “Loud meets meekness” is how I would describe it. Though my Dad was often jovial and playful, he had this humble warmth and kindness about him that would leave most feeling uplifted and welcomed. Even when he struggled, he sought to uplift those around him – be it with a joke, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.

My Dad was one of my best friends. He was always dependable and present. Though he didn't look it, perhaps because he often acted like a goof, Dad was remarkably wise. And you knew that when you came to him with a problem or needing support, he would listen and then take his time before he spoke. No word left my Dad's mouth that hadn't been weighed and thought of. I have always appreciated that my Dad was rarely reckless or careless with his words.

Dad seldom missed any of my sporting games. For years, he would come to my cricket matches, sit in the sun for hours and watch. Even when I got my license and drove myself, he would tag along or drive down later. Then Dad learned to do the scorebook and eventually filled in for a game or two. I still remember the look of shock and delight on his face when he caught a ball on the boundary or that cheeky smirk when he hit his first four (a thick outside edge that flew through the gully). Not bad for an old guy who never really played the sport.

Dad was with me when I bought my first car, and funnily enough, Dad would come out and save me and my mates late at night because that same car would overheat on Lapstone Hill. I don't think the guys cared much, as they didn't have to be the designated driver. Plus, they could take the extra time to sober up before getting home.

Come to think about it, a lot of quality time with Dad happened in the car—whether driving to work at Parramatta, joining him on his work trips out West, or our trip to Canberra a few years ago. He was never wasteful with that time, and it was there that he would heavily invest in me through our many conversations. There was a good mix of joking around and seriousness. Just don't change the radio station.

Speaking of music, Dad instilled in me a love of music, even though he wasn't musical himself. His knowledge of the 60s and 70s music was unrivalled. He took me to my first concert, and over the years, we got to see bands like The Offspring, Kiss and AC/DC together. Along with the rest of the family, I also have fond memories of seeing musicals like The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore at the State Theatre. I'm sensing a strong Gilbert and Sullivan vibe here...

Not only was he “Dad” but also Grandpa. I couldn't have asked for a better grandfather for my three girls. He had his special bond with each – The quick-witted banter between him and Bethany was something to behold. The long hugs with Anaya were amazing (even after she destroyed the steering column in his car that one time). Finally, Dad had a gift for entertaining the many questions about bugs, wildlife and science from our ever-inquisitive Cayla. Dad loved his girls. That much was apparent. I still remember him praying for them on the last day I was with him in person. The girls miss him already. They are heartbroken that he is no longer with us.

If there were one influential person outside of Jesus who had shaped my faith, it would be Dad (and, of course, Mum, too). Dad wasn't a deep thinker or a theologian. He wasn't preachy or some flashy Bible thumper type. He would never weaponize his faith or use it to tear another down. He never sought power or influence and hated being out in the front. However, he was always happy to serve quietly in the background.

Dad's faith was simple and, for the most part, uncomplicated: Love Jesus and others well. I was reminded of that when I visited in January, and we talked about the hymns that he would like at his funeral – the first being the Servant Song. You can listen to it below. It sums up Dad's faith and the type of man God called him to be.

Also, not many people know this, but Dad was the reason I became a pastor, even though he wasn't one himself. And yes, Dad, I'm going to blame you for that whole pastor thing.

As a kid, I remember the many nights my Dad would go with the minister to visit the elderly, the sick and the shut-ins. To serve the Lord's supper, encourage them, and pray for them. It also didn't hurt that a visit was often met with a Bailey's or a nice Scotch.

Even though he was imperfect and a little rough around the edges at times, Dad exemplified what it meant to love and serve others, to be a shepherd – which proved foundational for my calling in life. So, thank you for that, Dad.

In a world that pines for heroes, my father was mine.

Thank you for your love and guidance and for being my father, Dad. Rest easy now 'cause you were bloody marvellous.

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