"Graham's Life" spoken on the 17th August 2020 at Tobin Brothers Mount Martha Chapel.
- by Hilary Forster, Graham's wife
Graham was born in Victoria. He had an older brother Bill, and sister Joan.
He attended Camberwell High School and made friends there whom he stayed in touch with throughout the years. Their friendship was sincere.
At high school, he was considered pretty bright and the teachers made him skip a full year ahead of his cohort. However, he ended up having to repeat that year later because he failed the exams. He was always on the sports field and not studying as he should have been.
When he finished high school, he wanted to join the staff at International Harvester (I.H.) as his father (who passed away early in life) had before him. His mother however would not have a word of it, saying "Over My Dead Body". To appease her, he joined another firm and worked with them for a very boring 12 months. With no enjoyment in the job, he decided that he had tried his mother's way but would now give his own dream a shot. He left the firm and joined I.H. without is mother knowing. His mother had to accept it!
I worked with North Broken Hill, where Graham's brother worked, so I met Graham when I was just 16 years old. He was 21 at the time and had no interest in a 16-year-old but luckily when I turned 18, he began to take notice. We became engaged on my 20th Birthday and married on my 21st.
We lived in Melbourne for around 5 years in our early married life but Graham was then transferred to Adelaide to work in the Finance Department at I.H. Our first daughter Helana was born in 1967 and Gra went in and counted all her toes and fingers to make sure all was okay. He certainly amused the staff at the Glenelg Hospital.
6 months later Graham was transferred to Brisbane and we had two years there. The Melbourne Office soon wanted to transfer Graham back to Adelaide though as Finance Manager for South Australia and the Northern Territory. At the time, I was heavily pregnant with our second daughter, Sharon and the Melbourne office rang Graham every day and nagged him "When is that baby being born?" To hurry the process along, we were advised by our doctor for me to drink a bottle of caster or cod liver oil, which I did - and only 4 hours later Sharon arrived. Graham was worried about her coming into this world so quickly and then moving straight to Adelaide only 5 days later, but all was okay.
Linda, our third daughter, was born in 1970 in the same hospital as Helana. She was an easy birth and luckily there was no trouble with work transfers at that time.
6 years later we were transferred yet again back to Melbourne. It was lovely to be back with family and friends. We found a home in Mulgrave and Graham settled in as Finance Manager of Victoria for I.H. He was very happy working there. Sharon eventually joined the staff of I.H. and she and her father used to set off for work together.
Helana moved to Brisbane when she was 21 years old and later married there. We were all at the wedding of course and Graham made a great speech. They are now well and truly happily married. Sharon also married in Melbourne to a great bloke but unfortunately, he passed away far too early.
Linda went to Scotland to work and we visited her in 2003. Graham was thrilled to reach England and as he vacated the airplane in Heathrow, he said to me, "I can't wait to see a castle". Seven weeks later he said to me as we were boarding a plane to come home, "I don't want to ever see another bloody castle". We saw a lot of Scotland, England, France and Belgium.
Linda came home from overseas for Graham's 70th Birthday. She did not let him know she was on her way though and gave him a wonderful surprise when he saw her.
At the age of 52, Graham suffered a heart attack. Soon afterwards, IVECO took over I.H. and over a couple of years wanted to make changes so Graham decided to retire at the age of 55. He worked from home for a few years with another Company but was pleased when we both retired.
We eventually moved to McCrae, which he adored. He used to watch the boats and big ships pass through the water as we had a house on the top of a hill with a great view. He also loved feeding by hand the kookaburras, which used to land on our balcony.
After 18 years there, his heart and lungs grew weak and after a couple of falls, we moved from a ¾ acre and two storey house to a one storey in the same region. It was very nice there.
We had the great fortune to have travelled to many places across the world over our years together. When Graham was still working with I.H., he won a trip to the U.S.A. The girls were quite young then and he was determined to take them with us. We saw Los Angeles, San Francisco and of course Disneyland. We came back through Hawaii and the kids had a great time with their dad. It was a trip that we all talked about for years and years.
He also took me to Bali with friends and later on, we went on an overseas trip in the Pacific Ocean to Noumea.
A trip to Fiji for our 50th Anniversary was also a favourite trip of ours. He had asked me where I would like to go to celebrate, and I replied Fiji. I got a funny sort of look from him and he said "I thought I would take you to Port Philip Island and see the penguins." We went to Fiji.
Graham passed away on Friday 7th August, the same day his father also passed away, many years ago now. We were with him for some time on the Friday for he was far from well, and he passed away soon after we left him, very peacefully and on morphine, which really settled him.
He was a great man, and apart from his family and friends, was also loved for his sense of humour and caring nature. He always tried to please people and put others first, an endearing quality loved by all.
It is very hard to say goodbye but the memories will never ever fade.
Please take care Gra. Enjoy your new life.
Lots of love from everyone.