Eulogy given for my father John Guggisberg (1930 – 2003)

When you are not with somebody they still exist in our memories, even when they are far away.

My father may be no more, but he will continue to exist in all our hearts until we too pass away.

Of course I regret that I will not be able to spend any more time with him. However, I can’t help but wanting to celebrate at this time.

He had a good life, one that he shared very generously with family and friends.

One of the ways I feel very lucky is that my father lived long enough for me to grow through adulthood with him.

Through that I got to fully appreciate what my father has given me.

He was never afraid to do things his own way, even at the risk of ridicule.

He loved travel, particularly to out of the way places, often roughing it along the way. A sense of adventure was more important than comfort.

He loved to talk with people, who ever they may be – ideas of class seemed totally foreign to him. That didn’t stop him loving beautiful things.

I’ll never forget the excitement as a young kid of sneaking into a church with my father to listen to the organist practising.

He genuinely loved music, for him it had nothing to do with expressions of refinement or of his position in life.

He loved to fix things – it fostered his sense of independence. He did not like relying upon others if it was something he could do for himself – although I’m not sure what he would have done if had to boil an egg.

He was very generous – this word has been used more than any other in the letters and phone calls we had in commiseration.

Often it seemed his greatest pleasure was in helping somebody out. Perhaps it substituted for words, because he did have difficulties with vocalising emotion.

What ever the case, he did not give necessarily expecting something in return. And sometimes this involved tasks no one else was prepared to do.

A strong and influential memory is of him regularly stacking recycled bottles, on his own, in the dark, at the Scout hall, while other parents waited in their cars for their children to emerge.

And through all this he demonstrated the centrality of family. Ironically because of his death the extended family is all together for the first time in three years. Between us he lives in our hearts, our actions and our thoughts.

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