On behalf of the family of THOMAS GEORGE BERNARD DECLAN REYNOLDS, affectionately known as Tony, I would like to thank each and every one of you for attending here today, 2nd January, 2004, to celebrate his life.

My name is Lesley Bawden and I am the funeral celebrant.

This service is to be a service of thanksgiving to celebrate Tony's life, so be prepared to smile a little as well as cry a little. Funerals are definitely a time for grieving and to express our loss through tears, but they are also times to remember some wonderfully happy occasions, and it is alright to smile as well. I think today there will be some memories for both.

At the conclusion of today's service, the family extends to you all, an invitation to join with them for refreshments here at Le Pine, Mordialloc, with the opportunity to exchange reminiscenses and memories about Tony.

If you missed signing the memorial book on entering the chapel today, please do so before leaving, as it is the only record that the family has of your attendace and it is impossible for them to remember you all during this time of grief.

Today we are paying our last respects to a real Irish gentleman who was immensely popular because he was always sunny and such fun to be around. Tony left very strict instructions today about how he wished his funeral to be conducted and we are honouring his wishes as far as possible, except for his wish that today's service be just five minutes long! He left a brief eulogy of his achievements and I would like to read them to you for this is how he would like to be remembered.

Tony was born Thomas George Bernard Declan Reynolds in the "crystal" city of Waterford, Ireland, on 12th February, 1926. He attended the local school at De La Salle College in Ireland.

After leaving the army in 1945 he went to live in England where he met Joan, his first wife, and they had two sons, Kevin and Paul. Tony and Joan lived for the next fourteen years in England before the family emigrated to Australia. Here they settled in Eildon where Tony was to remain for the next thirteen years.

During this time he was well considered in the community and was a Councillor for eight years. Among his other Eildon accomplishments, of which there were many, included being President of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Public Service Association, Secretary of the Progress Association and Public Relations Officer for the Ministry for Conservation at the trout hatchery, better known as the State Fish Hatchery. During his time with the Ministry he continued with further study and gained a diploma in Public Relations and Salesmanship.

During his time at the fish hatchery, Tony was acting as a tourist guide and there he espied Beryl, who was holidaying near Eildon with her daughter, Karen. He pursued her around the guided tour and then accompanied them back to their car, with Karen aware that this was over and above the usual duties of a guide, even though Beryl didn't notice at the time! Tony's courtship continued and was successful, with he and Beryl marrying in 1975.

When Tony came to live in Aspendale with Beryl, he worked for Educational Supplies for 11 years. During these years he continued to maintain his wonderful community ethic of assisting others as a volunteer. He was a well-known volunteer at Yarrabah Special Developmental School for over 13 years, assisting the children with disabilities.

All of you here today would be familiar with some of Tony's idiosyncracies. We all have them, and they make us the individuals that we are. His included his cheerful greeting whenever you met, with his "Top o' the morning to you." The other would be his predictable answering of the phone which was always done with, "Greetings."

The Toastmasters Organisation was one with which Tony was closely involved, winning Toastmaster of the Year at the Mentone Toastmasters in 1990. Perhaps the greatest accolade which Tony received for his community work was when he received an award from Kingston Council for voluntary service and when he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the State Goverment of Victoria for voluntary service to the community.

Tony was also very much involved with the Freemason's movement, and we will hear from a fellow member during a short Masonic tribute later in our service today.

Tony has had a very happy life from the time he was in Australia. He was known to most people as a perfect gentleman and many of you will remember his enjoying whatever came his way with a whistle or a song. He loved to sing and was a dab hand at most of the Irish songs of his childhood. He returned to Ireland in 1990, visiting relatives and enjoying his homeland. Also, he and Beryl travelled when she retired, enjoying a wonderful trip around New Zealand.

As a sportsman Tony loved his golf, playing once a week with his dear friends. He also loved his football, being a one-eyed Hawks supporter and he attended their games every week for many years with his granddaughter.

Tony Reynolds has lived his life fully, to the best of his ability, assisting others whenever possible and will be sadly missed by you all, for he was special.

READING:

The first reading today is titled "Cry Not For Me", and if Tony was able to speak to us now, the following words may well have been those he would have chosen to say:

Cry not for me,
I have no pain in leaving.

Do not visit my grave,
For I no longer exist there.

I am in the air that you breathe,
I am in the sun that warms you,

I am in the rain that fills your springs,
I am in the heaven that you dream of,

We are forever,
You and I.

Find your way,
I shall always step with you.

Speak to me often,
I shall always hear you.

Give me your love,
I shall always feel you.

Know in your heart
I will be with you every day.

But, until we meet again: Be Happy!

REFLECTION

Let us now take this opportunity in the service to gather your thoughts and memories as you reflect on Tony's life and the times you shared with him. For the believers amongst us, it is a time for silent prayer, whilst for the others, it is a time to make memories to take with us today and sustain us in the future as you remember Tony. We will not listen to music at this time, for Tony was adamant that we not break the service in sons - instead let us enjoy a moment of quiet.

Please feel free to join in with me as I read the well known scripture reading of the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my Shepherd. I will be reading the old St.James version, but if you feel more familiar with a more modern version, feel free to say the one with which you feel most comfortable.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me beside the still waters
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake
Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the sahdow of death
I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies
Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Amen

MASONIC SERVICE: DENNIS COLAM

Because Tony was very involved with the Freemason's Society, it gives me great pleasure to call upon fellow Mason, Dennis Colam, to lead us in a Masonic service now.

Our final reading has been chosen especially for Tony by his family. It is titled "Moving On" and brings us all strength at times such as these.

You can shed tears that he's gone
Or you can smile because he lived.

You can close your eyes and pray he'll come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he's left you.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
Or you can be full of the love you've shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he's gone,
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he'd want - Smile, open your eyes, live, and go on.

KEVIN'S WORDS

Tony was proud of his children and loved spending time with them and telling his favourite jokes. To tell us a little of Tony as a father, let's hear finally from his son, Kevin.

One of the things that Tony had that didn't get passed down to me was the ability to pick any subject - or talk to people for hours, so this won't be long today, and it works in with what he wanted.

So, personally, on my behalf and Tony's family here today, I'd like to thank all you, his friends here, for coming, and I'd just like you to go away with the thoughts of him as that happy-go-lucky person that would break into song or tell a joke, or just generally be a nice person to be around.

Our memories of a few things in Eildon - with the way he did things and how he talked to everybody - a 30 minute visit to the shops would take 2 hours by the time he'd talked to everybody!  And then his other problem of not remembering where he'd left his keys, or his glasses, so we'd have to revisit every shop again to try and find them - or a late evening call from the MCG on one of his many trips to see his beloved Hawthorn, where he'd walked the length and breadth of the carpark there - his car had been stolen, but we had to remind him that he'd actually gone in by train that time.

So, this is the Tony that I'd like everyone to remember. Not being a long service today, and I know some of you have come a long distance, I hope nobody's disappointed in the length or the content of the service, but that's what Tony wanted and we tried to abide by what he wanted.

So, I just hope that everybody goes away today with that thought of Tony, with a smile and a song.

COMMITTAL:

Ladies and gentlemen, could I ask you to please stand for our final farewell to Tony. If standing is difficult, please remain seated.

With reverence and tenderness we commit the body of Tony Reynolds to the elements.

We are grateful for the life that has been lived, and all that life has meant to us. We will remember Tony's life by the memories he leaves behind.

Those of us who feel deeply will grieve deeply. No philosophy or religion ever taught can prevent this wholly natural reaction of the human heart.

We come into this world with nothing and we depart with nothing, but the memories we lave behind with our friends and families are a mark of our life's successes.

Nothing can now detract from the joy and friendship you shared with Tony.

Nothing can possibly affect the happiness and depth of experiences that he himself knew.

You will remember him as a vital, living presence.

That memory will bring solace to your hearts, and strengthen you in times of trouble.

These are the reflections that you treasure, for there can never be too much friendship in the world, never too much human warmth, or too much love.

Tony Reynolds - Tony, much loved husband, Dad, Pa, friend - we bid you farewell and leave you in peace as we leave this chapel today.

May you rest in peace in God's care.

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