Christopher Simon Boal cut an imposing figure leaning up against the bar at Club Habitat, in Austria, where Sandra and I first met him in 1977 – a big man, long hair, big beard and as you all know, a great sense of humour.
“Rover” as he was fondly known, along with K.D, Michael George, Vicar, Silver, Clap, Passport, Budgie, the Colonel and a huge gang of us, enjoyed life in London, Europe and many more places that are now sadly changed and unsafe to travel through. A carefree and happy time for all of us who lived a life that can never be replicated and simply cannot be described to anyone who wasn’t part of it.
A large community of former Sundowners’ colleagues treasured his friendship and are deeply shocked and saddened by his death. Many have contacted us from the UK, New Zealand and all over Australia, to ensure we pass on their condolences to his family. Some are here today, but all of us remember him as a great mate with a fantastic sense of humour, gentle, easy going nature (except when it came to football) and love of life.
Sandra and I continued to see him when we returned to Melbourne and lived around the corner from each other for a while. Even though my brother also lived close by, I saw more of Chris. He was like a brother to me.
We played golf for years. Chris and I would leave home in darkness every morning in order to get in a game of golf at first light. The coveted prize was the Yoghurt Cup which was won, fairly or otherwise – balls were moved !!!
We shared our highs and lows - a particularly devastating time, being the loss of his and Debbie’s first born. He was a dedicated and caring father to Amelia and Laura, relishing and agonising over all that parenthood entails. He took on the mantle of responsibility for his family after the death of his father, taking care of every detail in the care of Marj and Jeremy. He was a devoted son, brother and family man, always there for them all.
A passionate Navy Blues man, he was NOT impressed, when after a dreadful loss to the Mighty Hawks, “someone” had covered his Nissan Van with brown and gold streamers from top to bottom. He was not amused and his only comment was….. “ very childish behaviour! ”
We worked together for 15 years, where our ritual of morning tea time became sacrosanct. This was a time when we’d do the daily quiz in the paper and solve the problems of the world. He was loved by all who worked there throughout the years. Sandra and I greatly valued his contribution but suggested he reduce his hours as we became more worried about his health, but he just didn’t want to stop coming in. So we think he enjoyed being there.
We will never forget the day last April, when he was called back to the hospital urgently – “a matter of life and death” they said, as they had the results of his blood test earlier that morning. We didn’t know it then, but it was to be his last day at work with us. His steady decline had begun, followed soon after by his reluctant resignation from “The Emporium” as he called it.
He loved Sue and appreciated everything she was to him these last few years. Her love and support of Chris and his family has been extraordinary and he often told us he could not have endured any of it without her. He absolutely loved their trip to the States for his 60th birthday and was looking forward to getting well so he could enjoy more travel in the future.
He had many enduring friendships from every stage of his life, which is testimony to the kind of person he was - a “GOOD” man and a loyal friend, with his mind and heart on the important things in life. He loved being with his mates, enjoyed overseas travel with family and friends, trips to King Island and his regular visits to the Duck Inn. He would have us in stitches about his experiences with Jeremy at airports and on planes - their shared love of aeronautics.
Sue, Marj, Amelia and Laura, there are no words to describe the emptiness that Chris’ death has left in our hearts. He will be greatly missed by us all.