Ron, my father, was a simple working class man and absolutely proud of it. He didn't suffer snobs and soon let them know it. He preferred the company of genuine, honest and straight forward people. It was a wonder that he had any time for politics. Yet he was a true blue labour man through and through. Many an election saw the family sitting around the television with a few drinks urging the Australian populace to do the right thing. Down at the local he would enjoy a friendly joust with any liberal who dared to raise his colours.
Ron liked a punt on the horses with his youngest son John. It was one of his favourite past-times. He also enjoyed going down to the Challa to have lunch and a spin on the pokie machines with his 4 sons, nephews and nieces. Just before Christmas Peter and I nearly had to resuscitate him when his machine kept giving him free spins and a small jackpot. As his prize pool kept getting bigger the more Ron got excited.
Young Ron was a talented sportsman and won quite a few trophies as a cricketer. He was also a talented athlete. Peter and I found out the hard way. We thought we were pretty fast as young guns. Mum used to say “wait to your father gets home, your father will deal with you two”. When he got home and mum gave him the details of our transgressions and called for us: Well, we were out of our rooms, out the door and travelling as fast as we could down the back yard yelling out you won't catch us. By heck he did. And boy did we cop it. Damn he was fast.
Ron was a great family man. He loved the special occasions and celebrations with his brothers, sisters and friends at his mothers and fathers. They were joyous occasions and they were also great for us kids. The tradition continued at his own place at Pym Street. He deeply loved all of his grandchildren and followed their lives very closely. He was very proud to meet Charlie, the newest addition to the clan by his oldest grand daughter Pheobe and partner Justin. Ron also enjoyed going down to Pt Victoria to stay with John and Jenny and his four grand children Mathew, Joshua, Jason and Rebecca. He always looked forward to Peters visit's when he flew in from Perth and his twice weekly telephone calls.
Ron worked 7 days a week to send his children to St Michael's. By profession he was a very talented Carpenter and Builder. He built his own house brick by brick. When he joined the Public building Department Ron was always given the tough high profile jobs. Some jobs he was particularly proud of was the staircase he built at Parliament House, the many display cases at the SA Art Gallery, and at the State Museum. His handy work was evident in the wood work at the SA Constitutional Museum. It was not long before he was promoted to Manager, (4 )Workshop Services at Netley. He set about modernising the workshops and in the process saved in excess of 200 jobs. In fact, the jobs were set to be outsourced to private enterprise, but he managed to make them so competitive with private industry that the Government of the day had no economic grounds to justify their intended outsourcing program until well after he retired.
He was generous with his time using his trade and skills at St Michaels and St Margaret Marys School where he spent many week ends involved in voluntary supervision of construction projects. He was a member of St Vincent De Paul's Society and the Knights of the Southern Cross. Ron instilled in us boys a strong sense of community spirit: not to be an observer but a participator, to work voluntarily and not to expect anything in return. He put his catholic ethos into practice.
I will always remember the assistance and support that he gave the Croydon YCW boys. He generously offered his house for the mandatory fund raising to help us put our football team on the park. He and his great mates Reg Duffy, Keith Margatich, Jack Douglas, Colin Carmody and Jack Bracken manned the Kegs and cooked the snags. Ron obviously enjoyed the St Margaret Marys Parish and the friends he and Irene made through their unselfish participation in parish and school life.
He was devastated when he lost his parents. Ron and his two sisters Joan and Ella did the bulk of caring for them in their twilight years. Ron married Irene Hanson in 1949 and together their productive marriage lasted for 54 year. Sadly for the last 15 years of their marriage, Ron lovingly cared for his late wife Irene when she fell victim to that horrible disease, Alzheimer's. With Grant's help he did a wonderful job looking after her. It was a most unselfish Christian Act which deserves our unreserved admiration and is deserving of the Australian day Citizenship honour awarded to him by the Port Adelaide Enfield Council some 5 years ago. Most of us would not be able to cope with the stress and the continued observing of the physical deterioration of a life long partner. This man had a very long morning period and after her passing he never really got over losing Irene. His health suffered dramatically as a result of his tremendous effort but recovered sufficiently enough for him to enjoy some real quality life surrounded by his family over the last 3 years of his life. He was extremely proud of the fact that he gave up smoking at the ripe old age of 80 years of age.
His grand son Christopher will always remember the high 5 he attempted to give him as when he walked past him after he received his Science Degree at Adelaide University. Chris remembers the pride oozing from his face. It is a memory that will last with him forever. Philip remembers how supporting, caring, gentle and interested he was in how he was progressing in his chef apprenticeship. He enthusiastically devoured and enjoyed the occasional meal Philip prepared for him.
We will all have our memories of Ron. He has truly left a lasting impression on all he came in contact with. It is now time that we lie him to rest, but before we do he and my family would like to acknowledge the following people and organisations:
Ronald Douglas Carey left this world on the morning of 19 of February 2007. You would be happy to know that he died peacefully and we hope suffered little in the latter days of his life thanks to the wonderful care of the nursing staff on Kidd Ward of the Calvary Wakefield Hospital. All of the family would like to thank his Physician and Diabetes Specialist Dr Jesudason, Anne Bassett, Barbara Stace and my wife Maureen Carey. The staff knew him well from his many visits and you could tell they loved this man. Many of his past nurses from Coronary and Step Down Units enquired about him or visited him. He did not want to be alone and was rarely without anyone by his side. He had a constant stream of visitors irrespective of the hour. The Pastoral Care team (Lena and Jo) were great support. The staff have commented on the impression this gentle man has left on them, who always said thankyou for whatever task was undertaken for him irrespective of what it was, no matter how sick he was.
Ron's late wife Irene would acknowledge the love and devotion of her husband of 54 years. Her husband Ron has undeniably and unselfishly demonstrated his love and a commitment to his wedding vows beyond her expectations and what few people could humanly tolerate and endure both physically and emotionally.
I notice here today members from the Domiciliary service, Home care nursing and RDNS whom have helped Irene. Dad could not have achieved what he did without you guys. Your being here shows the respect you had for Ron. We thankyou for your input and assistance. I know he respected you guys and have his gratitude.
To my brothers Peter, and John, sister-in-laws Helen, Jenny and in particular Grant and my wife Maureen. Your support and help over the past 4 years has been extraordinary. There have been many highs and lows for all of us but you have been there when you were needed.
Grant, your brothers and I would like to thank you. I am very proud of you and the way you accepted dad's passing, it was not easy for you, but your efforts in particular in looking after Dad and Mum has been exceptional and just plain hard work. Dad asked me to publicly thank you. You made his final years enjoyable and more meaningful. You did more than I could even have imagined with your company, day to day care and friendship with him. Dad knows things will be okay. Your strong catholic faith has been strength to us all.
To Dad's sister Joan, brother in law Paul and your family; my brothers and I thank you for the many visits and the emotional support you both have provided him and us over the many years of Irene and Ron's illnesses.
To the Kavanagh Family, represented here today by Des and Pat, Peter and Renee whom the Carey family have had a long and special relationship for four generations. I know Dad valued that friendship and we would like to thank your family for the many good times and the support they received over these many years. I will always remember the great time he had at the recent tennis Christmas function held at your place last year. That close bond and friendship will continue amongst the two clans and is even stronger.
Dr Gavin James Ron and Irene' local GP deserves our special thanks and deepest respect. The medical support he has provided mum and dad over the last 15 years or so has been greatly appreciated. He hasn't just rushed in and out but taken his time and often sat and had a quiet chat with dad. He has visited the house many, many times to support dad. It is something very rare in modern medical practice.
The Croydon Parish through Kath Janonis, Lila Duffy, Claire Bracken, Barabara and Colin Carmody, Jack Douglas and Rev Father Maurice Shinnick. Your visits, Holy Communion, friendship and support have provided him strength and has been very much appreciated. To Monsignor Robert Rice and Rev Fr Toan thanks for celebrating the last rite for Ronald Douglas Carey.
He is now at rest and with Irene and by heck hasn't he earn't it.
Ronald (Ron) Douglas Carey