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Graham Neasey

11/03/2014 | By | 3 Comments

NEASEY Graham Trevor James
28.4.1951 – 9.3.2014
Dearly loved and devoted husband of Dianne. Cherished and treasured dad of Michelle, Annette (dec), Alistair and Phillip (Ted). Passed peacefully from the presence of his loving wife and children, into the presence of God.

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  1. Parkside Funerals

    NEASEY
    The family and friends of the late Mr Graham Trevor James Neasey are respectfully invited to attend his funeral service, which will be held in the Chapel of Parkside Funerals, 254 East Cam Rd, Burnie, on THURSDAY, March 13, 2014, commencing at 2pm. This will be followed by interment in the Burnie Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made at the funeral to Rubicon Grove in recognition of their beautiful care, would be appreciated.

  2. Parkside Funerals

    Graham Trevor James Neasey
    1951 – 2014
    I would like to start by paying respect to the Townsend Family, some of whom are here today, on the passing of Lyle, a first cousin to Dad. I know Dad would want us to acknowledge that today.
    Dad arrived on 28 April 1951 as the first baby born to Trevor and Audrey Neasey, living at Ridgley. Trevor was the son of James Neasey and Hilda Wilson of Ridgley and Audrey was the daughter of Cyril Morse and Ella Dyer of Paradise.
    It wasn’t too long before Dad was followed by a run of four sisters: Sheryl, Janene, Anthea, Rennie, before finally another brother, Adrian.
    Being the eldest in the family, Dad was always the first to get the privileges. When he was a teenager, he brought home a large bottle of coke and put it in the fridge. His sisters had never really seen coke before, they snuck in and drank it – and then panicked! So they filled it up with black vinegar and put it back. Well they got an earful about that from him. 2

    As a boy, Dad spent many happy holidays visiting his grandparents Cyril and Ella Morse at their Paradise farm near Sheffield. Dad enjoyed the outdoors, and his grandfather let him drive the tractor. Later when Grandma Morse was elderly and crippled, he would carry her up the stairs into his parents’ home for Sunday lunch.
    Dad attended the Ridgley Area School which only went to Grade 9 in those days. He enjoyed things like woodwork, sheet metal work and agriculture but he didn’t enjoy school academically and he finished in August before completing Grade 9. His mother was concerned about him leaving early and she phoned Roy Overton to see whether he could possibly give Dad a job. In a single moment that would shape the rest of Dad’s life, Roy agreed. Dad started a five year apprenticeship with R.D. Overton and Sons at Federal Street Upper Burnie, in fibrous plastering in 1966.
    One of Dad’s first cars was a white HD Holden. It was a bit short-lived however. Dad had collected cream from Davey Overton’s small dairy in Ridgley to take home to his mother and had sat the container on the front seat. Inevitably he forgot it was there, jumped in and cream went everywhere! Well he took the seats out, pulled the dash apart, scrubbed and scrubbed the car, but could never get rid of the smell on a hot day…. in the end, he had to sell the car! (On a cold day).
    As a young man he was a strong swimmer. He rescued Anthea once from a river when she was just six, and he saved a girl from drowning at Marion’s Bay on a youth group trip.
    Dad’s family attended Hebron Hall in Ridgley and later Burnie Gospel Hall which had a thriving youth group in those days. Mum remembers when she met Dad at a conference in Smithton. Dad was selling small EP’s (records), one called ‘Freedom’ and mum wanted to buy one. Well she says she did. I think the record might have been secondary. Dad took mum for a drive to Stanley and the rest is history.
    Dad married mum on the 1st April 1972 at Murray Street. With four outgoing and inquisitive sisters in the wake, Dad knew how to throw them off the trail. He left a decoy in the form of old plane tickets in his bedroom. They didn’t check the dates and turned up at the airport only to find he was nowhere to be seen.
    Their first home was at 60 Moody Street in Burnie, rented from Grandma Morse while they were building their first home in Ridgley. Early on, mum cooked a beautiful sponge cake and had it ready for something that evening. She was out when Dad got home, and he looked in the tin, saw it there and ate the lot. He thought that was normal! Well it was in his house!
    Dad had finished his apprenticeship and made a change to work at the Acid Plant. This lasted a couple of years before he then went driving trucks for his cousin Maurice Townsend.
    Mum and Dad had a little green mini when they were first married. One of Dad’s soon to be brothers-in-law borrowed the mini one night, but sailing down the Upper Burnie Hill found it had poor brakes. He had to swerve into the property below Aileen Crescent, to pull up. 3

    Arriving home in a sweat, he said ‘Geez Graham, you could have just told me not to take your sister out rather than trying to kill me.’
    I was born in 1973. Mum was pregnant with Annette in 1974 and they were about to move into their brand new home built at West Mooreville Road in Ridgley. Life was good.
    But things changed dramatically. Annette was born six weeks premature and died suddenly five months later from cot death. She was buried at the Wivenhoe Cemetery and about 30 years later, Dad returned and built a special monument around the grave showing that she had never left their heart.
    Within a year or so, Dad’s health began to suffer when he developed leg ulcers and ended up in the Wynyard hospital for around five months.
    It meant leaving the home they had built together and it was a difficult time for a young couple starting out. But they were lovingly supported and cared for by beautiful friends and family and to their credit, they never allowed these disappointments to leave them bitter.
    They moved to Upper Burnie where Alistair was born in 1977. Dad’s health improved and he returned to the plastering trade working for Eric Overton.
    Not long before this, Dad and Mum joined a number of couples from Burnie Gospel Hall who were asked to go and form a new church at Romaine Park. Dad headed up the Boys Rally there for several years.
    Someone told me not long ago that they thanked Dad recently for always stopping to talk to them as a young teenager. He said ‘it wasn’t just a hello, he always asked about this and that and took a real interest in us’.
    Like many, Dad loved the Rally days of billy cart derbies, camping and massive homemade water slides. Yes, today’s insurance nightmares were yesterday’s best memories.
    Later Mum and Dad moved to Acton Chapel. Lifelong friendships were formed here. My second brother Phillip was born in 1980.
    Dad had good organising skills and I think that this drove his ambitions to run his own business. He commenced Graham Neasey Plastering Service in 1982. This was a big step for them, with three young children aged 9, 5 and 2.
    As kids growing up, we were taught to answer the phone as ‘Hello, Graham Neasey Plastering Service’ and to take a name and number so that Dad could call back. I was taught to take payments when people came to the door to pay a small bill. But one thing that we really got used to as kids was the amount of times we’d be out going somewhere, and Dad would say “I’ve just got to call in here and look at a little job.” Us kids would groan in the back seat because it meant sitting bored for the next half an hour, while Dad went in and measured up the job. It never occurred to me as a young person that Dad had to continually attract all the business to support not only his family but also however men he had working for him. 4

    He worked extremely hard in his business, both physically and mentally. He always left early, getting men and materials organised for the day and often came home late. It was not uncommon to see him arrive home tired and sit down to a late tea, his black curly hair and clothes white with plaster dust from sanding off.
    Mum always got up early to pack him one of those large square Tupperware containers full of sandwiches and home cooking, with a hot thermos of coffee. Well a thermos of hot water and a tube of Coffee and Milk. Dad was a sweet tooth. He must have been the most well-catered for workman on a building site. The work boys will tell you that the Tupperware container lasted for morning smoko.
    Mum played a busy role in the business and Dad could not have made it a success without her. She was often running errands or picking up a last minute material that was needed urgently somewhere.
    It was also common growing up to see Dad sitting at the dining table of a night, with plans spread out all around him, working on quotes. After a full days’ work with an early start, the paperwork – especially the continual quoting, would have to fit in around it all in the evenings. In later years he spent more time in the office, but his first love was really to be out on the building site. He was a doer.
    Despite the hard work, stress and extra hours, I believe that Dad never regretted the decision to start his own business. It gave him enormous freedom to be his own boss, and indeed it gave us many years of benefits as a family.
    In his prime, his business employed up to 20 men and the list of commercial jobs that he worked on was pretty impressive for a guy that didn’t finish grade 9. Some were brand new complexes but many were major renovations or extensions undertaken to commercial properties such as Reece House, the old Department of Social Security, the Burnie Court House, the Old Burnie Police Station, Ulverstone Police Station, McDonalds in Burnie, Devonport and Invermay, Yarandoo, Umina Park, Strahan Village and the Visitor Centre, King Island library, Council Chambers and hydro station, all of the Roelf Vos stores across the north of the state, the Burnie Plaza Arcade, Cradle Mountain underground toilets, Lake St Clair Visitor Centre during the off-season in winter when it was snowed in, the Nurses Home in South Burnie, the Northgate Shopping Centre in Glenorchy, sections of the North West Regional Hospital and all of the Burnie Private Hospital.
    One thing is for sure – he was never scared to take on the big jobs.
    The list continues with the Burnie Kmart Plaza shops, Smithton Council Chambers, the Smithton Hydro, the Burnie Post Office, South Burnie Mail Centre, Timberland in Burnie, the Lighthouse Restaurant in Ulverstone, the old Trust Bank in Ulverstone, the Farmers Supermarket, Cooee Primary School, Vincent’s Crematorium when many a sheet of plasterboard was broken trying to create that curved ceiling, the Wynyard Council, Emmerton Park, Wynyard RSL, new section of Mt St Vincent Nursing Home, the Shearwater IGA Supermarket, the weather bureau station at Woolnorth, not to mention half the houses in Burnie. 5

    But perhaps the greatest contribution in Dad’s life was the way he extended his service and skills voluntarily to so many non-profit organisations and to families or people who needed care. These were many and varied and have already been touched on today, but included projects at Acton Chapel, Punchbowl Bible Chapel, Romaine Park Christian Centre extension and later their Life Development Centre; the MMM Base in Whittlesea and also Marysville Victoria; Christian FM Radio Station at Wynyard; Southland Ministries at Sheffield where they remodelled and fitted ensuites to all the rooms; Leighland Christian School at both Ulverstone and Burnie campuses; and perhaps the most significant one Camp Clayton.
    Over the years, he was a member of the Camp Clayton building committee and an integral part of many projects including construction of the stadium, the new Kitchen (Dad worked on that project during his treatment, I remember him calling in to inspect the concrete pour on the way home from having radiation in Launceston), extensions to the Dining Centre, upgrade of the Assembly Hall, construction of the seminar room, restoration of the Villa, and the redevelopment of Parkdown Lodge.
    The work boys are full of great stories about Dad’s rip and tear approach to work, the pranks, his funny ways, the way he kept saying ‘oh flippin heck’ when things went wrong.
    But they also say that he was a good boss. If something went wrong on a job, he took it on the chin with the site manager, never taking his employees to task in public. He sure wasn’t perfect, but all who worked for him would say he was good to work for and that they were better off for it.
    Dad always seemed to have some cool stuff. Some of you will remember that he had one of the first super 8 film cameras. In the early days he had the big fishing net. He wasn’t fearful of water and would always be the lead pulling the net out to sea up to his neck before circling back in. He also loved canoeing but that must have been an old pastime because as kids we found it hard to believe that he could actually fit into a canoe.
    And then there was the big BBQ that turned up everywhere. He had it made with a big solid steel plate in it so it could be used for cooking BBQs at big events. Everyone borrowed that BBQ.
    Dad became extremely adept at walking around on the stilts used by the plasterers in those days. He would walk around on them like it was second nature, ducking through doorways. He found other uses for those stilts too and had long trousers made up that would cover the stilts right down to the ground so he could be the ‘tall man’ at events.
    During all this time, despite how busy Dad was, he seemed to spend considerable time with us. We spent many enjoyable holidays camping, motor bike riding, ski biscuit riding and later caravanning over many, many years. Dad was always a busy man, not one to sit still. He loved a good laugh and a bit of a stir.
    Dad also enjoyed music. It was a family tradition for a while for him to get up on Sunday morning, put a record on, and make us all porridge. He loved it when us kids took up instruments. Our first piano, he bought from someone up the road, and they simply rolled it 6

    down the street. (And we lived on a hill). And he never complained about having a drummer in the house. He loved it.
    Dad spent a few years on the Board of Leighland Christian School. He was supportive to staff and keen to see the school be the best it could be.
    In 1998 life was busy, full and exciting. Dad was in his late forties. But he was getting tired and lethargic. He started to lose weight and after many tests was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. The following year he had eye surgery. He was then diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in the brain and eyes, the same disease that took his mother only three months before. Without treatment he would have had only three to six months. Dad was given another twelve years.
    He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment on the brain, a process that impacted him significantly in a whole range of ways. His health and failing eyesight prompted the end of his business, something he found sad to accept. But it did not stop him offering his skills and time to many non-profit groups and he spent a lot of time working on various building projects at Camp Clayton during this time.
    We watched with thankfulness as Dad’s cancer started to go into remission – counting the one year mark, five years and then ten years.
    In his retirement, it is true to say he lived some of his dreams, although he lived with many limitations.
    After having a Honda 750cc motorbike, he bought (this) Valkyrie 1800cc which was his pride and joy. He and Mum joined the Christian Motorcyclists Association and he was soon elected President. These rides and events were some of his most enjoyable times.
    A friend followed Dad and Mum one night on their way to church in Ulverstone. Dad mounted a traffic island, getting the Valkyrie airborne, and then proceeded to ride into an exit lane (against traffic flow) then casually leaning the bike over and onto the correct side of the road. He arrived at the destination in typical style without showing any signs of being flustered or that he had done anything wrong saying ‘she’s right cobber….’
    On a trip through Albury they had been warned that there was a cop just down the road booking people. For some unknown reason Dad pulled out past Theo Gray on this day and sure enough the cop came out of the bushes and chased him. He got him doing 135kmh. He asked him what the reason was that he was going so fast. Dad’s answer was that it was a nice day Sergeant and he was enjoying the ride. The policeman told him that he would not be able to drive on Victorian roads for thirty days from midnight that night. He just turned to Theo and said “Well that won’t matter – we’re on the boat to Tassie tonight!”
    When it came time to sell the bike, they entered the motor home scene and joined the Campervan and Motorhome Club. This introduced them both to another wonderful group of people and many enjoyable holidays. Dad fulfilled a final dream in 2011 to drive the motor home up the eastern seaboard of Australia. 7

    The last fifteen years were not easy for Mum as life changed for Dad. To us, it was evident that they always loved each other deeply and Mum’s care for Dad over those years was the result of loving dedication for which each of us children and indeed Dad’s wider family truly respect her for.
    In December last year, about a year after moving to Shearwater, Dad started to experience significant short term memory loss and difficulty with mobility. He was admitted to Hospital and following a biopsy in Hobart, our fears were confirmed. His lymphoma had returned in a large mass in the brain – cruelly playing havoc on his ability to remember, speak, eat and walk. Some preliminary treatment brought temporary relief, which gave us a window of time to treasure our final days.
    In the end however, no treatment could stop this disease and Dad told us many times that he was ready to go. If you knew Dad in recent years, you will know that he genuinely looked forward to Heaven.
    Dad’s last home here was Rubicon Grove at Shearwater, but only for a month. Our family will be forever grateful to the beautiful nursing staff who gave Dad such wonderful care and companionship, and welcomed our family so warmly by allowing us to make their home our home.
    Dad faced more than his fair share of difficulties and tragedies. And the last fifteen years for him were so hard, living with limitations.
    He had every reason to be disappointed, pessimistic or even bitter. But none of these ever characterised him. He chose the positive, maintained his cheeky smile, and knew what it meant to be content in good times and hard times. I believe he exemplified his faith in a very practical way.
    And so I finish with a tribute to Dad:
    Through your actions, you taught us to love and give generously.
    Building our family, you showed us fun, laughter and loyalty.
    By your life’s work, you taught us commitment, ambition and ethics.
    Accepting life’s challenges, you taught us graciousness and humility.
    In your faith, you taught us contentment and true joy.
    Michelle Neasey

  3. Parkside Funerals

    I would like to express my thanks, to Di, Michelle, Alistair and Ted for choosing to hold Graham’s service of farewell here at Parkside. It is, for me, a very great honour, to have been entrusted with his care, after his death.

    Some of you may recall, that some 14 – 15 years ago, Graham used to assist me in conducting funerals. It was a role he loved dearly, and the families we served – loved him. He had an unassuming nature, and his quiet words of support, a kind hug, all brought comfort to those who had been bereaved.

    But let me tell you about his generosity of heart, that was to me, personally, an amazing gift.

    I had decided to set up my own business. I had found an old Federation home in South Burnie, and it needed renovating. There were a few colonies of rodents living in the building, along with some hippies, and a few illegal plants growing in the backyard. Some evicting of the current tenants needed to happen. There was a mortuary and garage to be built… It was a daunting task. I seem, during the course of my life to be surrounded by some amazing people, who catch my vision, and help me run with it.

    Gra was one of those people, all those years ago. Along with my dad, and of course tradesmen that we needed to employ, these two men worked, side by side, knocking out walls, Gra re-plastered much of the building, installed beautiful ornate plaster features, painted… it was a huge job, but we did it. He was always calm, and unflappable. He was there all hours of the day and night, and of weekends. And when you got Gra on a job, you always got a bonus, because Al was there with him as his trades assistant, Di was in the garden weeding, even Ted put in an appearance a time or two… It was during this time that I learned that he loved among other things, Malt-O-Milk biscuits! Was always happy if there was a packet of them ready for morning tea…

    Gra never asked for much in return. I couldn’t afford to pay him the tradesman’s rates he was worth, and we both knew that… He loved the work, he loved being generous, he loved helping out… He badly wanted to keep helping me do funeral work. All this was at a time when he was undergoing tests, diagnosis and treatment for this rotten disease that has robbed him of so much, and caused him and his family such suffering. It was a great sadness to him, and to me, when he could no longer manage the work, and had to retire…

    Gra, today we honour you and your journey amongst us. I personally want to thank you for helping to build a foundation for this business. You were loved in this place, and what you gave will never be forgotten.

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