In Loving Memory of My Father
September 9, 1923 - October 21, 2007
An ordinary, decent man
who showed extraordinary commitment
to his family, friends and employers.
Spared further suffering, he now rests in peace.
BIRTH & CHILDHOOD
Colin McPhie was born in Surrey Hills,
to parents Norman McPhie and Pearl Barlow, on September 9, 1923.
When Colin was only about 3 years old, his father left the family.
He was raised in Yarram, East Gippsland, in country
PHOTOS: Young Colin McPhie, presumably at Yarram.
On the back of the photo on the old tractor, written in my mother's handwriting,
are the words "2 years & 9 months".
When young Colin was only 12, his mother died.
He was then raised in
MARRIAGE TO LOIS
While attending Glen Iris Elementary School No.1148,
Colin met young Norma Lois Haeberle,
Later, on September 21, 1946 at the age of 23,
Colin married Lois, then aged 21,
at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in
Colin & Lois were always a devoted
and inseparable couple for almost 60 years,
living true to their solemn vows of love "until death do us part".
Sadly, Lois passed away on June 5, 2006,
after suffering Alzheimer’s Disease
and other health complications.
Together, Lois & Colin built their new family home
in what was then the orchards and green rolling hills of Burwood,
at 3 Morell Street, (later the suburb was renamed Glen Iris),
and there they raised their two sons -
Bruce born in 1951, and Russell born in 1955.
We were blessed with parents who loved and
supported us every step of the way through life.
Through all the very good times and the bad,
the ups and downs of life,
Mum and Dad were always there with a helping hand
or a comforting word.
When we were young, our parents were not wealthy,
but they saved wisely and made sacrifices
to give us a good education,
and we enjoyed many family holidays together.
Dad & Mum always supported us in our many hobbies
and interests over the years.
(PHOTO: The proud Dad!... I may have earned the Queen's Scout Award,
but Mum & Dad rightly deserved much of the credit.
Photo taken in November, 1968.)
(PHOTO: Mum & Dad with the youngest of their 3 grandchildren, in 1989.)
(PHOTO: Russell, Lois, Colin & Bruce -
a happy family celebrate
Dad's 60th birthday at
3 Morell Street, Burwood, in 1983.)
At that time, I was living "in the bush" at Cassilis in far north east Victoria.
Our Dad had many jobs throughout his life,
and he soon developed a well-deserved reputation
for being a dedicated and conscientious worker.
He worked as a fireman at Camberwell Fire Station.
For most of his working life, he was a skilled lathe operator,
a turner & fitter, at Inglis Smith Ship Chandlers in
Later still, after his health declined, he moved to easier employment
as a biscuit maker at the former Brockoff’s Biscuit Factory
in Burwood, until his retirement at 65.
PHOTO: Dad & workmates at Brockhoff Biscuit factory.
Wherever he worked or went,
Colin formed many good friendships, and was popular for his
hard work, loyalty and sometimes a wicked sense of humour.
As a testament to his popularity
with both workers and management,
he was always warmly welcomed back to visit the workplaces,
even after he had stopped working there.
Together, our parents enjoyed many coach tours
around much of
More than just wonderful holidays together,
these also became opportunities to gather
many close, long-term friends.
SURVIVOR OF ILL-HEALTH
Throughout his life, our Dad experienced and survived
some very serious medical conditions,
and developed a reputation as a tough survivor.
As a young man, he underwent a brain haemorrhage operation at
Prince Henry’s Hospital in
He was welcomed back there by medical staff for many years
as a popular and successful survivor.
In later life, he suffered from a number of strokes,
which left him with some side effects,
but he somehow always bounced back.
A roll-your-own smoker most of his life,
Dad immediately quit the deadly habit after his first stroke.
Dad’s quiet stubbornness and strong will to live,
cheated Death for many years.
After nearly 60 years of devoted marriage to Lois,
Colin had to suffer seeing Lois consumed
by the dreadful Alzheimer’s Disease.
Finally, her passing in 2006,
although in many ways a blessing,
must also have been a terrible time for Dad.
As was often Dad’s way,
he mostly kept his inner feelings to himself.
Perhaps that was his way of dealing with a situation
so tragic and painful, which he could not change.
NEARING THE END
Dad’s strength noticeably declined during those last years,
and especially after the death of Lois.
He required nursing home care,
and became steadily older and weaker,
although his heart remained strong to the very end.
Some days before my next tour was to start, I got a
message from brother Russell to say Dad had got worse,
but the doctor could not say how long he had left.
He improved a bit, but then declined again.
I informed my manager, but decided not to fly home at that stage.
I had seen Dad only a few weeks before, while in
annual holiday, and Dad’s condition was still unclear.
Anxiously, I continued the tour, prepared to return
but chose not to tell the travellers about this.
We got half-way through the tour, when I got the call.
Finally, on Sunday morning, October 21,
after a full and active long life of 84 years,
Colin McPhie passed away.
On Thursday October 25, 2007 at 1:45 pm, about
35 close family, friends, neighbours and former workmates
gathered at Blair Chapel, Springvale Crematorium,
to say farewell to Dad, who was cremated by request.
We displayed some interesting photos of Dad
taken throughout his life,
including some when he was only about 2 years old.
Dad's most favourite flower was always the tulip,
so we arranged an impressive display of tulips to send off with him.
On the coffin, there were red roses, and a black sash -
Dad's favourite football team was always Essendon!
During the time of reflection, the music played was
Vera Lynne singing "We'll Meet Again."
At the end of the service, we played the Essendon footie song.
We think Dad would have liked that!
The moving service was well conducted by Mr. Greg Crawford
from Syd Peek & Daughter funeral services,
who had also taken care of Mum's funeral in June 2006.
Colin is survived by his two sons, Bruce & Russell,
and his three grandchildren born to Russell and Janet -
Stuart, Ryan and Ashlea.
Colin McPhie will be remembered and loved by his family,
and all the friends and work colleagues who ever knew him,
for his honesty, dedication and selflessness.
He was a hard-working, and devoted Dad, and a loyal mate to his friends.
He will be sadly missed, but now he can finally rest in peace.
In honour of the memory of my Dad,
Intrepid Indochina, my employers in Viet Nam,
made a donation to Alzheimer's Australia (Victoria).
This was unexpected, and much appreciated.
Anything that helps others facing this terrible disease,
and hopefully brings a cure closer,
is a good thing indeed.
Colin & Lois
60 years of happy
married life together,
separated only by
the death of Lois
1 year and 4 months ago.
rest in peace
(PHOTOS: Mum & Dad
celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary,
on September 21, 1996.
Mum passed away just 3 months before reaching their 60th wedding anniversary.)
Rest in Peace - Colin McPhie
* To read my Tribute to My Mum, go to: