Ken Gordon Brown
Eulogy for Ken Gordeon Brown Read by Peter Brown, son of Gordon Brown
Two days before his death, Dr Richard Jackett played 18 holes with his wife Elaine at the Kingston Beach Golf Club and followed it up with the club comp the next morning.
Later that afternoon, he refused the offer of a lift from his daughter Dr Louise Jackett, who was visiting from Melbourne, and walked to the North Hobart football oval to watch Tassie take on Queensland.
Louise vividly recalls saying to her mum that her dad looked "so well" - much younger and fitter than many people his age. As he walked off to the game she called out to him fondly, "You're looking spiffy Dad!"
The 69-year-old, long-serving New Town GP, avid sportsman, husband of 42 years and father of two, collapsed at home early next morning - Sunday, July 2.
Louise tried desperately to revive her dad, but he died from a heart condition within minutes.
In the days and weeks to follow, she has been comforted by the knowledge that he "lived his best life until the last minute - literally."
More than three hundred family and friends joined Elaine, Louise and son Andrew Jackett, who flew in from the UK, to farewell Richard Jackett on July 12, at Turnbull Funerals, in North Hobart.
Among the tributes, was a moving address from long-time friend and fellow doctor Richard Bourke. Due to a paralysed vocal cord, his daughter Katie read it on his behalf.
The Richards were just 15 when they first met at cricket training, reviving their friendship when they worked together as medical interns at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
"We often joked that if we knew the day we were going to die, we would probably spend the day before skiing in the Colorado Rockies and the day before that playing golf at the Kingston Beach Club," he said.
"Richard really was the universal man. He was a devoted family man, an academic, an exceptional medical practitioner, a beautiful friend, a skilled athlete in numerous disciplines and he was a person of outstanding character in so many ways.
"Sadly Richard died too young and it has broken our hearts to see him go.
Both Dr Bourke and Louise, who was inspired by her father to become a doctor, reflected on Dr Jackett's medical career and devotion to his patients.
After finishing his hospital residency in the early 1980s, Dr Jackett accepted a GP position at the New Town Medical Centre. He would spend the following decades running a thriving practice, before retiring in 2018.
"While I think Dad's kindness, gentleness and compassion were ultimately the main reasons his appointment book was always full, his patients were also fortunate to benefit from his exceptional intellect," Louise said.
"Dad was a brilliant diagnostician and loved the medicine of medicine."
Dr Bourke described his friend's ability "to blend the art and science of medicine with precision."
"He was a very popular GP … and made personal sacrifices to make sure they had the best possible care."
Despite the demands of his work, Dr Jackett's passion for sport never wearied. A life filled with the joy of sport, from cricket, tennis and football to golf and skiing, was captured in his daughter and friend's tributes.
Dr Bourke said his friend was a "very competitive soul." And reminded the gathering that Dr Jackett's car number plate RIC113, reflected his university cricket club record of 344 innings, 2363 runs and his highest game score of 113 runs.
He also made mention of his friend's passion for the Richmond Football Club and his habit of writing a poem about the upcoming game to accompany his weekly footy tips. This was one of many:
`I love a tigered country
Of black and yellow plains
Where Dimma's word is gospel and Dusty rules and reigns
Lions flung to far horizons, they scrap but can't kick free
The striped ones - by what margin?
Ten points and Jack bags three.'
"Dad's love of sport has connected him with some incredible communities," Louise told the mourners. "A member of Kingston Beach Golf Club for more than five decades, a passionate player at the Domain tennis centre, and participant in many other clubs over the years, these relationships brought him such joy and meaning.
"Our family has been overwhelmed by the love these groups have shown him and we know he will be missed on the fairways and courts."
With permission from Dr Jackett's family, we publish Dr Louise Jackett's moving tribute.
"It is the story of a life full of kindness, integrity, talent, happiness and love." Louise Jackett pays tribute to her dad
When I was a little girl, I loved nothing more than running errands with my Dad on weekends. But whether we were browsing at the hardware store or buying jigsaw puzzles at Book City, there was always the catch that a quick trip could fill an entire afternoon because it seemed that everybody knew my Dad. "Dr Jackett! Dr Jackett!" Andrew and I would hear, as Dad turned around to see a beaming patient eagerly approaching for a quick chat. Dad loved these moments and without exception he knew every patient's name, and would always tell us something kind and meaningful about each person as he proudly introduced us.
From my young mind's perspective, it seemed entirely probable that my Dad was the only doctor in Hobart. As I got older and came to realise that he wasn't the only GP in town, I never doubted that he was one of the most loved. The adoration was not one way - Dad truly reciprocated respect and affection for his patients in the sincerest of ways, and served them with the utmost dignity. Ever humble, Dad was convinced that some of his patients only came to visit him because of the cricket memorabilia that adorned his office walls. But I would confidently challenge him on that and suggest that maybe there were other reasons.
While I think Dad's kindness, gentleness and compassion were ultimately the main reasons his appointment book was always full, his patients were also fortunate to benefit from his exceptional intellect. Dad was a brilliant diagnostician and loved the 'medicine' of medicine. It is one of the things I deeply admired in him, and a key reason that I was drawn to a field that made him so professionally fulfilled. I am fortunate to truly comprehend just how outstanding he was as a doctor.
Dad's brilliant mind extended well beyond the realm of his professional career. He had a worldliness to his knowledge and a mind that was in constant expansion. His bookshelves are brimming with volumes about the human experiences of the American Civil War and the World Wars, ancient mythology, many periods of art history and a vast array of genres of literature and poetry. He was enthralled by the wicked wit of Winston Churchill and the understated prose of Hemingway. He revered the power of the English language to tell an effective and evocative story.
Dad applied his appreciation of prose to his own words and often loved to try out a new theatrical way to tell a story or a joke on a willing (or unwilling) audience. You may have been lucky enough to hear him recite bush poetry from memory, as he surprised me with The Man from Snowy River in its entirety at my 30th birthday party.
But as much as he could recite 13 verses by heart, he could also be a man of few words. In a crowded room, Dad would often be the one sitting quietly, listening intently to conversations around him, only to command a room's attention at a poignant moment with the wisest of observations. Dad often proclaimed that his father was a great orator, and it was something of which he was incredibly proud. Well, I am proud to say that my father was a great orator too.
Dad had classical tastes that were reflected in his love for orchestral music and opera. Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Puccini and Pavarotti were all on high rotation in his CD carousel. One of his more contemporary loves was Andrea Boccelli, and of course we will play Dad's favourite song here for him today. For Andrew, Mum and I, and perhaps many patients, the Out of Africa Soundtrack is also inseparable from Dad's memory because he would play it endlessly at home, in the car and at work.
Another subject occupying significant real estate on Dad's bookshelves is that of sport. From Bradman tributes to decades worth of Tour de France guides and 'The Inner Game of Golf', Dad not only immersed himself in sport but was also himself a great sportsman. Across tennis, cricket, golf, skiing and footy, Dad loved nothing more than finessing his techniques whenever he had the chance. He'd putt in the living room and chip on our front lawn, so it was a reality of life in the Jackett household that one must learn to dodge golf balls.
Sport was a special language shared deeply by Dad and Andrew, and it was beautiful growing up alongside my brother and frequently seeing the beaming pride that Dad had for many of Andrew's sporting achievements. Along with Andrew's wife Jenna, we all managed to lure Dad out of skiing retirement last year for his 69th birthday. He hadn't skied for at least 4 years and was understandably apprehensive, however he danced down those New Zealand slopes carving the most beautiful turns like it was the 90s. Thankfully we have the video to prove it.
It wasn't just Andrew with whom Dad shared his love of sport, Mum was always right there partnering him in a range of endeavours. In the early days it was skiing and tennis, but in later years Mum has discovered and shared in Dad's love of golf. Dad coached Mum with patience and support, and always with love. It didn't matter how many tries Mum took to get over a waterhole, he was always there encouraging her in all ways, and with an endless supply of golf balls. Mum and Dad played their last game of golf together less than 2 days before he left us.
Dad's love of sport has connected him with some incredible communities. A member of Kingston Beach Golf Club for more than 5 decades, a passionate player at the Domain tennis centre, and participant in many other clubs over the years, these relationships brought him such joy and meaning. Our family has been overwhelmed by the love these groups have shown him and we know he will be missed on the fairways and courts.
Dad embedded himself in community and deeply cherished his friendships. You will all know your own reasons for loving my Dad's company, but to me it has always seemed that Dad's good nature, sharp wit and dry humour were some of the main traits that drew people to him. His ability to seamlessly transition from boy-like cheekiness to contemplative thinker meant that conversations with him were both hilarious and comforting, and I know many of you will miss them dearly.
I remember the joy at seeing Dad's pride and happiness on the day of Andrew and Jenna's wedding in Bali last October. Dad loved Jenna dearly and we are eternally grateful for the year and a half that the two of you spent here in Australia until very recently, which has given us so many precious memories. Thank you to little Samuel Richard Jackett, 11 weeks old on Friday, and all the joy that came to Dad from knowing he was a grandpa. Pop was so looking forward to meeting you little Sammy - you definitely have his ears. We know that the best of Dad will live on through us.
Dad was the cherished son of Graham and Jean, and adored being Uncle Rich to his siblings Graham, Clare and David's families. Perhaps it was a combination of him being the youngest sibling and his general youthfulness, but Dad seemed to straddle the generations. He would be a source of endless fun in our cousins' younger years, and a well of seasoned advice as everyone got older.
I know Dad's other greatest pride was being a devoted husband to Mum for 42 years. Mum was a life partner for whom he saw no bounds in generosity and love. I remember asking him for the first time when he knew they should get married, and he said he simply met Mum, thought she was the most beautiful, caring and fun woman he had ever known, and just fell in love forever. Dad often said they had created a great life together and he couldn't want for more. In Mum's own words, he was simply the most wonderful man to spend life with.
Richard Bruce Jackett was born in a flash in the back of an ambulance on the 15th of August 1953, and he left this world even more quickly on the 2nd of July 2023, just a month and a half shy of his 70th birthday. Whether you knew him best as Richard, Rich, Ric, Riccardo, Spud, Dicky, Dusty, Dad, Dear or most recently as Pop, know that he loved you as dearly as you all love him.
Only a couple of weeks ago, I was asking Dad what he wanted to do for his 70th birthday. I knew he would consider another ski trip as long as he could get away with minimal fuss for the rest of the celebrations. Well Dad, we have tried to respect your desire for no fuss today, but the love for you is just too grand that we have found it a little hard to hold back.
Papa, as I've told you many times, you're my absolute hero. I know I've never been as good as you at telling a story, but I hope that I have done justice to yours today. It is the story of a life full of kindness, integrity, talent, happiness and love.
We love you.
Darwin entrepreneur Stewart Stacey is being remembered as a proud Indigenous man who wanted to make a difference after his death last month, aged 52. Read the moving eulogy
A cattleman and prominent industry advocate is being remembered for the hard work and tenacity that saw him rise from a life of poverty.
By sharing stories, memories and reflections, you can create a eulogy that provides comfort, closure and a lasting tribute to someone you loved and cared about.
Find comfort in rituals for Christmas grief. Honour your loved one's memory with traditions during the festive season to help you feel connected.
Tony Bennett, Tina Turner, Sinéad O'Connor, Lisa Marie Presley and Jimmy Buffett are some of the music legends we lost in 2023. Tribute musicians, songs, music