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Meet the
parkside funeral team


Rennie Neasey-O’Connell


I have been fascinated with funerals and cemeteries even as a small child. But it wasn’t until my second son died (of SIDS) that I began to read material about the grieving process, to understand this terrible journey. Out of this grew the desire to be a funeral director who had a first-hand, in-depth understanding of the pain bereaved people face, and provide excellent service while showing compassion.

I have trained in Melbourne with the Australian College of Funeral Service (operated by the Australian Funeral Directors Association), completed a course in Mortuary Reconstruction, and have worked in the funeral industry for the past eighteen years, and during that time have arranged, directed, conducted thousands of funerals. I am excited about the future of Parkside, as I believe we offer a unique service, in the most beautiful location possible, as well as gentle, compassionate care. Since our inception, we have grown enormously. We now have a staff of 11, and with the advent of my son Simon joining the team of staff at Parkside as a funeral director, we become a family business caring for any family who requests our help.

Gerald O’Connell (1946 – 2013)


My husband Gerald has been a driving force behind the building and planning of Parkside. Gerald was a visionary and a leader, who always had a positive response to any ideas that were put to him. He showed incredible strength and single minded determination. Rennie often dreamed the dreams but Gerald ‘put the wheels on them’ and made them happen.

He had a ‘can do’ attitude, and if he came up against a problem he’d work out a way to solve it. He never believed in taking ‘no’ for an answer.

Just this past year he has been working on trying to get approval for a cremator to be installed here at Parkside. The application is before the relevant government department.

He loved every inch of this amazing property. He loved and valued each staff member for their contribution to this organisation. He was loved by them in return.

In February 2011, Gerald was diagnosed with a terrible blood cancer called ‘multiple myeloma’. It meant that he was too weak and ill to work full time at Parkside. He was broken hearted at not being able to care for our families. He was vitally interested in each funeral that came to Parkside and was encouraged by the many messages of support sent to him. When he was able he would still put his funeral suit on and assist on funerals, supporting families who knew and loved him, with his presence. Many of those times he should have been resting at home, but Gerald was not going to let this illness beat him.

Gerald battled this disease until his death on July 31, 2013. His life was honoured and celebrated during an amazing service, in the chapel he had helped to build. His loss leaves a huge gaping hole here at Parkside. But in keeping with his vision, we move forward into the future holding onto the hopes and dreams of this amazing giant of a man, whose personality and character are remembered with love and affection.

Vale Gerald. Thank you for everything that we learned from you. We miss you.

Sally Groenewege


I have been working with Parkside Funerals for 11 years. I have lived in the Burnie –Wynyard area all my life. My main role is Funeral Arranger and Director. In my role I meet client families very soon after the death of a loved one and work closely with them, listening to their needs helping them make decisions in the arranging of their funeral according to their individual requests and beliefs.
My role is a very caring and compassionate one, and I find it to be extremely rewarding to help families through a very stressful and emotional time. It is always an honour and a privilege to be invited to help families arrange a funeral for a loved one and I am very proud of the work I do to help families achieve a beautiful lasting memory to carry with them after the funeral is over. At Parkside we believe that the way that the family ‘connects’ with the funeral staff and the way in which the funeral is carried out will have a major and lasting impact on them as a family. And so we are very much aware of always being gentle, to give the family plenty of time to come to terms with the loss of their loved one in their own way.

Simon Smith


I’m Simon, and I am one of Parkside Funerals more recent staff members, having only been working at Parkside now for just over 7 years. As Rennie’s son, I have been exposed to funeral work ever since mum began working in the industry 16 years ago. So it has always been a huge part of my life. At only 26 years of age, I am relatively young to be working in this industry however, I love this work, and every day working at Parkside is a privilege for me. My role here at Parkside Funerals is as a funeral arranger and director. In my role I help families work through all the choices and options that is part of organising a funeral, and to offer support to them as they move through the process. I particularly like to think outside the square in regards to what we can offer each family that we look after here at Parkside, as each family can have very different ideas on what type of service they would like to have for their loved one. I give my time and effort freely to the families I look after, and always consider it a very great honour in helping people through this difficult time in their lives.

Steven Diprose


I have worked in the funeral industry for the past 6 years, and I have been with Parkside Funerals for the past 10 years and love both working at Parkside, and the work I do.
I assist in the mortuary, gardens, cleaning the vehicles, and maintenance of the premises. I also assist on the funerals doing all the tasks that funerals entail and also operating our technical equipment. I have a strong interest and background in IT (information technology) and my role means I am often called on to be fine tune those technical details.

I have extended family who are funeral directors in the UK, and I find that I too love funeral work, I find mortuary work to be an incredibly rewarding and creative process, and to have our Parkside families express their gratitude for a wonderful last memory that the viewing of their loved one brings, a memory they can carry with them for the rest of their lives means so much to all of us as staff. So I find that this work is much more than a job, it’s a profession of which I am proud to be a part.

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