The following is part of the eulogy I said at my grandfather's
funeral in January 2001. Here I've included sections I didn't say but wish
I had. During the speech I called him 'Doug', which is (was) his first
name; he was always 'Doug' to me- never Pop, or Grandpa, or Pa.
Doug was always an excellent grandfather. Growing up, when we arrived
at Gran and Doug's house Doug would greet us with a "G'day" or a "Howdy,
mate" and a grin. Not long after we'd raided the lolly jar Doug would ask
us about school, or work, or sport, school holidays or relatives. He would
listen to us, concentrating on our answers with a slight tilt of his head-
of course, he could only hear properly with one ear, which could have
added to the head tilt so he could actually hear us. But Doug was genuinely interested in our lives and as I grew up I appeciated this even more every time I saw him, knowing that I was lucky to have a caring grandfather who actively wanted to get to know me better as I got older.
One of the things I'll always remember about Doug is his sense of humour. He was often a quiet man who would be content to just sit and read the
paper or watch the cricket and football on t.v but he was just as keen to
share a joke or a funny news story with those around him. Or after a few
glasses of scotch after dinner when Gran would warn him that she wasn't
going to roll him into bed, and Doug would simply answer "Is that would
you reckon?" with a mischevious glint in his eyes, chuckling. He could be
wickedly sarcastic, and I loved him for it.
The playful side of Doug, although not shown to many people very often,
makes up one of my earliest memories. I was around 3 or 4 years old at the
time and Mum, Dad, Renee and I were leaving Gran and Doug's Hallsville
house after a visit. I looked out the window and saw Doug waving and
dancing a little jig for us. It's difficult to link that image of Doug to
the man I got to know years later, but I love to think of him as that
energetic, jovial and good natured man who loved to entertain his
grandchildren 19 years ago.
We all know that Doug spent some time in Papua New Guinea serving Australia during World WarTwo, and that he didn't like to talk about what he and his fellow soldiers went through there. In fact, when Doug developed a slight limp after he got back I'm told that Gran and everyone else assumed it was an old footy injury playing up. So you can imagine their surprise when Doug
admitted to his brother-in-law Charlie that once, years after the war, he
was scratching his knee and eventually pulled out a bit of shrapnel. It
must have been a bit of a grenade or a bullet from his time in the war.
When he was told that, Charlie asked Doug, "So what did you do with the
shrapnel?" Doug replied, "I put it in the ashtray". "So then what happened
to it?" Charlie said. "Dunno. Guess the old girl threw it out".
We saw the best of Doug at Christmas time when he got to spend more time with Rachael, his fifth and youngest grandchild. It was obvious to everyone that he adored her, and that she thought the bloke with the bushy eyebrows was pretty hilarious. On one of Doug's last nights at home I saw him say goodnight to Rachael, and as they chuckled together I could see how important she was to Doug as he was so happy and content with her. Although he won't be here with us as she's growing up, Rachael will be told all about her grandfather: how he fought for us in the war, how he loved Gran for the 49 years of their marriage, and, most of all, how he was a caring man who loved her, and all his family, very much. We are all grateful that we got to spend one last Christmas with Doug.
We all know that Doug's health was far from perfect in these years, and we
witnessed his long struggle with illness. Until four nights ago it seemed
that Doug's tenacity and stubborness could beat almost anything. The
strength Doug showed us all is inspiring. But after such a long time
fighting, he just simply needed a rest.
Doug: we all love you and miss you a lot, mate. But finally you can rest