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Articles

Some Sad News 

Ralph Heily 1

Regular readers will be aware that Isiiad has been dormant over the last few weeks.  I therefore feel I should share with you dear reader, the reason I've been absent from the blogosphere for so long.

My dear dear Dad, Ralph Thomas Heily passed away peacefully on the 31st of August.  My family gathered at his bedside and were with him during his last hours.  

It was a great privilege for my Mother, my sister and me, to arrange his sendoff and receive the words and gestures from the many people who were moved to honour his passing.

Grandpa with Pippa2

He was indeed a most extraordinary man who, having lived with the ravages of polio for the greater part of his life, still managed to make a significant contribution to his community.  In recognition of this he was awarded an Anzac of the Year Award in 2000. 

Closer to home, he worked the family farm by defiantly modifying run of the mill farm equipment to suit his own particular needs.  I often watched with admiration as he winched himself up onto his tractor with a contraption he had designed and welded himself.  This bit of rudimentary engineering made it possible for him to put in his own wheat crops for many years. 

He was a well read, cultured man, who enjoyed opera and roots music with equal enthusiasm.  

He instilled his great love of the English language in me and my sister Tina.  In her eulogy for him, Tina said,

"...he loved words, the feel and the shape of them, their bite and flavour, their rhythms and cadences and their use for thrust and parry.  His dry wit enjoyed the sly, droll comment and could skewer any hint of pomposity and self satisfaction."

He was born with a keen intellect and a genuine curiosity for the lives of others.  That combined with a wicked sense of humour and an open generous heart created a charismatic character whose company people sought out and clearly enjoyed.   None more so than me.

While I will miss him terribly, I'm happy in the knowledge that his enormous spirit will live on forever.

Grandpa with hat copy 

                                                           RALPH THOMAS HEILY

                                           NOVEMBER 24th 1924 - AUGUST 31st 2012

 

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