Solo Survivor



Today would have been my dad’s 96th birthday – he passed away 18 months ago. He became my dad when I was 7 and made it legal when I was 12 with our adoption. I miss him, his laugh, his advice. He, along with my brother, was one of the most influential men in my life. A giant of a man, good-looking and charismatic, he had a keen sense of humour and knew how to make me laugh. He lived a full and interesting life.

Some of my earliest memories of him were how he would read to us and make the stories come alive with his character voices and sound affects – he never lost his story-telling ability – or sitting around the radio listening to mystery stories or comedies such as the Goon show. As a kid I love being with him and would spend my school holidays following him around – he worked in rural areas building irrigation schemes and teaching people how to grow their own food. I developed my love of nature from him. Some nights we would sit outside with a pair of binoculars and star gaze.

We spent many happy hours watching sport – I use that term lightly as he was mostly blind and could not see the action – we supported the same cricket and rugby teams and loved to watch together.

In my twenties and thirties he became my advisor- we would talk about things like whether or not to buy that new car or change jobs. When I was offered a job in Australia I did not make the decision without first talking to him and mum first. He urged me go even though he knew what that meant.

Some of the things I learnt from my dad

  • Avoid credit – if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. I did not always listen to this advice and once had a large credit card debt. I worked hard to pay it off and have pretty much stayed debt free ever since – except for my mortgage.
  • Integrity- keep your word and do what you say you will do. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping – let your ‘yes’ be yes and you ‘no’ be no.
  • If something is worth doing it’s worth doing well. Work hard and always do your best – even if it’s a task you don’t enjoy.
  • Think before you speak – if you have nothing good or kind to say it is better to keep quiet. This reminds of something I saw recently using the word think – T – is it True – consider the source of the information; H – is it helpful or harmful; I- does it inform or instruct or is it destructive; N – is it Nice or nasty; K – is it kind or cutting

Love and miss you dad and look forward to seeing you again one day.


  1. Jen Cristonsen

    Sounds like a great guy. You’ve really honoured him here.

  2. Carla-ann

    Hello Aunty Su,

    My favourite memories of Grandad were when we used to sit under the tree outside and he would tell me all sorts of stories. No matter what mood I was in I left with tears running down my face with laughter. He just knew how to get me to laugh and smile. He was crazy that way.

    He was a great man, he was and always will be one of heroes.


  3. Angie Van Greuning

    What a wonderful man He sound like Su my friend! Wow! And what an age he would have been!

    You learn precious lessons from him my friend! Thing that I admire you for!

    He is proud of his precious daughter! Love you my friend!



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