Much loved husband of Alison for 51 years. Beloved father of Amanda Smee, Jason Sutherland and Sloanadene Campbell. Cherished ‘Grumpy’ of Alexandria, Alan (AJ), Michael, Riley, Lilah, Ella-Grace, Miles and Brighton.
When asked what memories I hold of Dad, of course there are many but if I have to pick, for me there are two standouts.
As the baby of the family, for a few years it was just me at home with Mum and Dad. Dad was always a hard worker, pottering away in the workshop building some new contraption or modifying something he thought could do with improving, but when he wasn’t, he was in the spa and that was our time together. Dad had been a diver for years and I used to be in awe as to how long he could hold his breath under the water. I could never get anywhere close, until he taught me how to use the spa’s underwater jets to get extra oxygen, and the wisdom to know the difference between the air and water ones.
Many nights we would spend sitting across from each other just looking into the sky, searching for the southern cross, shooting stars and satellites, no doubt with Dad listening to my relentless chatter. Dad wasn’t a big talker back then, and he didn’t need to be. He was and remained a calm presence in my life to whatever storm I was in, and him just being there has always been enough.
Dad was also a master of machinery, he had an amazing memory for anything practical and was always my go to before any google search or youtube video. Growing up, Dad held the same expectation for all of us kids, it didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl; if something needed to be done, you got stuck in, which usually meant holding a hammer or screwdriver for hours next to him as he worked away, explaining each step as he went.
We may not have understood it (or appreciated it at the time) but these experiences instilled in us kids the confidence to trust our own abilities. We think nothing of giving something new a go or tackling some diy, be it replacing plumbing fixtures or gibing up a wall, because Dad never doubted our abilities. We were always capable in his eyes and through that, he gifted us not only skills, but an appreciation of our own self worth, and that will last a lifetime.
This is a reading called “Never Forgotten”
I think of things you used to say And all that you would do, At some point, every single day, My thoughts will turn to you.
To lose you was a bitter wrench, The pain cut to my core. I cried until my tears ran out And then I cried some more.
This wouldn’t be your wish for me That I’d be forever sad So I try to remind myself Of the happy times we had.
I know I can’t be with you now And you can’t be with me But safe inside my heart you’ll stay, That’s where you’ll always be.