Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roy Freere "filled the house".

In theatrical terms it was a "sell-out" - standing room only. I mean no disrespect by those references - but the hall at the St John's parish was full today, for the funeral of Roy Freere.

That is a great tribute to the life of Roy Freere and the contribution which he and his family, have made to the local community, and to the wider society - for people came from near and far today to commemorate Roy's life and to honour his memory.Tribute was first paid to Roy by one of his colleagues from the Microscopical Society of Australia - Dr. Peter Rickwood, a Geologist from the University of New South Wales. It appears that Peter was Roy's oldest friend (outside his imediate family), having met Roy when both were at University in England. They met again years later, in Australia, when Roy turned up as a Company Rep for a Microscope manufacturer, and Peter was in charge of purchases for his University laboratory. Their friendship was re-kindled, and subsequently they collaborated on a professional level, jointly founding the Microscopical Society of Australia, and also publishing several technical papers together. Above all, they remained good friends, with profound respect shown by Peter for Roy's memory today.

Professor Ray Kearney spoke lovingly of Roy, from the perspective of a fellow member of the Sydney Fungal Studies Group, and as a friend. A number of members of the SFSG (as well as myself) were present to honour Roy and to comfort Joan. Ray spoke beautifully of Roy's frienship, and his love of the environment, especially "his beloved Robertson Nature Reserve".
Ray and Elma Kearney
listen as Rev Barry Lee reads the funeral prayers.
Dr Peter Freere (Roy's eldest son) then read from notes he had prepared about his Dad. Peter was very emotional, but we all understood that. His brother Ian came up to support Peter as he finished his speech, then very gently made his own comments, ending up with "Sleep well, Dad". A nice personal touch.

Their brother in law, Mark then spoke nicely of his father-in-law, including several amusing anecdotes. Mark's wife Susan, (Roy and Joan's second child) then spoke briefly about her father and then read a very moving letter which a local lady had written to Roy. She commented how it had pleased her Dad to have that letter read to him, as he asked her to read it several times over.

The Service was conducted by the Rev. Barry Lee according to the Anglican Church rites, as per the prevailing "Low Church" interpretation as approved within the Sydney Archdiocese. However "low key" the tone of the service might have been, the personal touches added by the family and friends were very satisfying.

Committing the coffin to the earth.
The Pall Bearers gently lower the coffin on heavy tapes.
Rev. Barry Lee then read the final interment prayer.
Peter (in maroon jacket) looks on.
I did not take any photos in the church, in the interest of not disturbing the Memorial Service. I felt able to discretely take these images at the Graveyard.
Mourners at the graveyard - A
Mourners at the graveyard - B
Flowers were provided by a number of local people, including myself, so that all persons who wished to place a flower on Roy's coffin were able to do so. A nice touch.

Incidentally, Barry Lee commented that Roy had insisted on choosing the readings and hymns of the Service himself. Typical of Roy, wanting to "get it right" - to the end. Personally I think that reveals how well adjusted Roy was to the looming end of his own life.

Roy was a person of deep religious faith.
No fear. No regrets.
***** ***** *****

As an old Catholic myself, let me just add the phrase "Requescat in Pace".

Rest in Peace, good friend.


Karin Kehl, Switzerland said...

Dear Denis

Our family has known Roy Freere and his family from when they were living here in Switzerland, many many years ago.

It was by chance that I stumbled upon your entry about Roy's funeral. Thank you for this wonderful post. It gave us somehow the chance to be part of it, allthough too late and from afar.

Kind regards,
Karin Kehl
with mother Josefine
and brother Andreas

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Karin
Glad you were able to catch up with the news about Roy's funeral, via my Blog.
That's what is good about the Internet.
I have passed your message to Joan.
Thanks for leaving a comment.