Dad was born in Ipswich on 6th Dec 1949. He was the 5th child of Sam & Freda. He is survived by two older brothers, and two older sisters.
When Dad was 2yrs old, Grandad, who was a Baptist minister, was called to a church in Nundah, so the family moved there. Dad attended school in Nundah until Grandad was called to Gatton in Dad’s early teens.
On leaving school at 14, Dad began a carpentry apprenticeship.
Dad purchased his first car, a 1953 Zephyr, for 150 pounds and then later bought himself his prized mini.
In 1969, Dad joined the army where his training was at Singelton, NSW. He then went onto an army camp on the Victorian border to complete a cooking course, and then furthered his skills by doing a bulk cooking course at Packapunya. Dad was discharged from the army in 1971.
During his time in the army, Dad, dressed in full army uniform and standing on the steps of the Brisbane City Tabenacle, met his wife to be, Lyndal.
After marrying in 1971, my parents honeymooned at Maroochydoore. Karen came along in 1974, followed by Fiona in 1976 and I arrived in 1979.
Mum & Dad had built a house up at the Sunshine Coast, which is where Jason was brought home from hospital, but due to Fiona’s eyesight and needing to attend a school for the blind, we moved to Bracken Ridge in 1979.
Dad sure showed off his carpentry skills in this house. It was a highset chamferboard house and Dad managed to add a large patio, then enclose that patio to make a rumpus room. He also installed internal stairs, and then proceeded to move them to a different spot coz he changed his mind a year later. He enclosed downstairs when he put the internal stairs in.
Prior to moving to Bracken Ridge, Dad was diagnosed with chronic depression. This gave Dad many struggles over the next ten years.
Due to a slump in the building trade, Dad secured a job as a bus driver. He always said he loved being a bus driver, as long as he didn’t have to pick up any passengers. He then worked at the Railways but while he was there, applied for and got a job in the catering department of what was TAA. We have great memories of Dad coming home with his jacket full of chocolate bars.
Dad was a keen videographer and captured many many hours of family fun times that we love to watch over and over. Remembering in the 80s, a video camera was the size of a briefcase, he still dutifully carried it on his shoulder at each and every family gathering, recording every minute.
Dogs were always a big part of out family. His motto was that you should never pay more than $50 for a dog. We started with Cindy, followed by Fred, Cindy #2, Sheba, Bruce, Gemma & Coco, who is here with us today.
Dad also had a good few years of interest in breeding both Oscars and budgies.. being very successful at both.
1987 was a pivotal year for Dad as a meeting with one of the elders at his church resulted in a dramatic release from his depression. He had gone to visit the elder on his motorbike and on his way back from the visit, threw his hands in the air and screamed “I’m free!”
I’m sure you’d all love to know what was said at that meeting. The elder asked Dad how he viewed God and Dad answered “As a strict disciplinarian.” The elder immediately said to Dad “Well, He’s not, He’s a loving Father.”
Mum distinctly recalls Dad coming in the front door from that visit and having a golden arch over his head, telling her immediately that something amazing had happened in the meeting.
Dad then enjoyed a year free of depression.
During that year, In 1988, Dad trained for and then participated in the ‘Bike for Bibles’ ride, from Townsville to Brisbane. Cycling 2000kms over 2wks.
While Dad was on the ride, he began to experience cramping in both his foot and his little finger. After returning from the ride, Dad was seen by his GP, who suspected Parkinsons disease and promptly sent him off to a Neurologist where it was devastatingly confirmed. He was 38yrs old.
We had moved a couple of times within Bracken Ridge, but when a workmate showed Dad an advertisement for house and land packages at Petrie, we made the move there in 1990.
The distance to travel to work had become difficult for Dad, so he took an early retirement due to ill health. His super payout allowed Mum & Dad to pay off the new house.
Karen blessed Dad with his first grandchild in 1992. This gorgeous baby girl brought a lot of extra fun and enjoyment into our house at Petrie.
Dad had begun to have a distinctive walk with the cramped foot which continued until his DBS surgery in 2007.
Around the time of Dad’s first grandchild’s arrival, we began attending what was then Lawnton Baptist Church. Mum & Dad took on the job as cleaners there, which was a job they held for 10yrs. During this time, Dad also worked in the church office, dealing with computer issues, which was a big specialty interest of his.
He was well known as being able to fix any computer problem, and we grew up being the first of our friends to have a computer in the house and the latest games etc.
Two sons-in law and a daughter-in-law came along, followed by a further 13 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren to date.
In 2001, a move to a townhouse at Lawnton was needed due to Dad no longer being able to maintain a yard etc. He also was no longer able to work at the church. Mum & Dad also made the move to this Bray Park Reformed church, where they’ve been members ever since.
In the early years of Jason & Fiona’s (Yes, Jason married a Fiona.. just to keep things interesting.. ha ha) marriage and family life, Mum & Dad would take yearly visits on the train to spend time with them until the travel became too much for Dad.
The Deep Brain Stimulation surgery had been suggested but dismissed due to the cost involved. Circumstances came about that allowed the surgery to be performed at no cost at the PA Hospital in 2007. Dad was a great success story for the surgery, even ending up on the news, jumping for joy with his return to independence.
Dad enjoyed 6months of increased mobility, but then things began to decline again. By this point, Dad was using a walker, but needed to go to a wheelchair following a bout in hospital and rehab due to a bad UTI & blood infection in 2014.
Dad continued to gradually decline and Mum, as his full time carer began to feel the strain of daily life, resulting in Dad beginning twice weekly respite days at Petrie respite centre.
Dad continued his interest in technology but moved onto the Ipad & Iphone etc. He loved to get the latest ‘iPad for Seniors’ magazine as soon as it was available, even to the point of annoying the newsagency staff to notify him when it was in.
Christmas Day last year dawned and we received a call from Mum saying that she’d had a funny turn through the night and wouldn’t be coming to Christmas lunch. Mum had basically had a breakdown due to exhaustion and was unable to care for Dad, We began the process of finding Dad a few weeks of respite for Mum to recover. We found a spot for him at Beaumont Care at Clontarf. Karen was due to move to Clontarf at this time also, so it was a huge blessing to find somewhere close to one of us.
Karen & I took Dad to Beaumont care on Jan 4. Dad was surprisingly ok about going, which did make it a lot easier. We were very comfortable with the staff from the very beginning which made it so much easier for us to happily leave Dad there. Dad was clearly comfortable there too, as a few days later, he announced that he would be happy to stay on there permanently. This was clearly a God thing as Dad had always been very adamant about not going into a home, often being quite fearful of the idea.
Dad, as Dad does, wormed his way into the hearts of staff and residents as the weeks progressed. He did have a couple of falls, resulting in ambulance trips to hospital, but they weren’t major.
Dad had been suffering from very very bad anxiety for the last few years and would regularly have panic attacks, but never experienced another attack after entering Beaumont. This was a huge praise point and answer to prayer.
We began to notice quite a bit of decline as the weeks went on. Dad started wearing a slow release pain patch to make him more comfortable. Dad was also experiencing disturbing hallucinations and was getting quite agitated at times. A drug was suggested to help calm him, so a half tablet morning and afternoon began. We had been warned that starting on this drug would make Dad very drowsy for a few days, but it really made him far drowsier than we liked, so the dosage was dropped to a quarter tablet morning and afternoon.
Dad had begun to say confusing things and also be very different in the evening, often not knowing visitors that came after late afternoon. Karen would go every day after work, so sadly she experienced some unpleasant visits with Dad which was very upsetting. Due to the drowsiness, Dad was spending more time in a fallout chair than in his wheelchair. This was far more comfortable for him, and also better for visitors to be able to see his face, as he was so slumped over when in the wheelchair.
In the two weeks before Dad went Home to The Lord, he was increasingly drowsy and ‘out of it’. He became more and more unresponsive, but even up to last Thursday evening, you could usually get a nod or shake of head as answer to something. He seemed to almost lose his voice all together in the last two weeks and would try and speak in a very low whisper, but sadly it was almost impossible to understand him. I can only imagine how frustrating that was for him.
He also had begun to experience increased difficulty with swallowing so he was put onto a soft diet and thickened fluids. His beloved Coke and chocolate was to become very rare. Thickened Coke is not very appealing. He also could no longer swallow his tablets, so had started chewing them.. yes, how gross. Seeing he was chewing them anyway, they decided to start crushing them and would give them to him in apple sauce, yoghurt or anything else they thought to try to help mask the disgusting taste of them.
Dad was never short of visitors while in Beaumont, with friends, family & pastors visiting regularly. Even with a lockdown that lasted more than a week, we continued to visit and have Dad brought out to the courtyard. They weren’t keeping us away, that’s for sure.
Last Wednesday, Dad was visibly in pain, bringing his knees up to his chest and covering his head with his hands. We spoke to the RN about this and they suggested upping his pain patch to make him more comfortable. Thankfully the doctor was able to see him that afternoon and wrote up the stronger dose patch which was put on the next morning. We had been warned that the increased does could make him drowsier still so we weren’t overly surprised to find him quite out it and unresponsive on the Friday. However, we weren’t quite prepared to have him refuse all food, water and medication. Usually Nick, The RN on for the 3-11pm shift, was successful at getting food, fluids or meds into Dad when he was a bit low, but even when he came on, he couldn’t get him to take them. He asked Dad if he knew what he was doing by refusing, and what the consequences would be and Dad said “definitely”. This showed Dad’s amazing strength, to make this choice and then proceed to ride through it.
Earlier that day, which was Good Friday, DH & I had been able to watch the live streamed service with Dad which was a really special time.
Karen then came after her church service had finished and she then stayed with Dad until that evening. I went home for a few hours, but knowing that without food, water or meds, time was short, came back by late afternoon.
Karen & I stayed with Dad into the evening. A few relatives were called at this point to express the severity of the situation.
When Karen & I arrived back to Dad last Saturday, he was in a very bad way. His breathing was very laboured which was something we didn’t at all expect. Speaking to the lovely RN, Susie, she said that we could put nasal prongs on to help with the breathing, but this would prolong the end, which is something Dad didn’t want. The end of life comfort care began at 10.30.am with a canula put in for different drugs etc. While Dad had been extremely unresponsive, he was VERY responsive when the canula was put in his belly. This was really traumatic for us to watch, as was each time they repositioned Dad. We had some idea of what the end would be like for Dad, but nothing prepared us for how bad it was.
Dad’s oldest sister, and niece were with us for a lot of that last day, which was so comforting.
Karen’s oldest daughter drove 3.5hrs home from holidays in order to be with her beloved Poppy.
Karen’s younger 2 daughters arrived at 5.35pm and we all laid hands on Dad and prayed together soon after they arrived.
At 5.55, Dad took a big breath in and out, his last… and began his eternity in Heaven.
We can only lean on the strength of our Lord as we go through life without him until we meet again.
Our greatest comfort during this time is knowing that we truly had the best Dad we could have ever asked for. He stood by us and supported us through every high and every low. He has never let us down or disappointed us. His taught us about Jesus and His love for us. He encouraged us to have a personal relationship with our Lord & Saviour.
We can get through this in the FULL knowledge that we will meet again in Glory.
Dad went through more in his 67yrs than anybody should ever have to, but he always did it with a smile and an amazing attitude. He loved The Lord, he loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren… and he showed us what it is to trust in The Lord at all times, and to not lean on our own understanding.
Blessings Peeps xox
P.S. Spoiler alert... The day following Dad’s passing, I was beyond blessed to receive a vision from The Lord of the moment Dad went home. I’ll share it with you all very soon as I know you’ll be blessed bigtime to read this. #Godisgood #allthetime