S Lowe for 5THE FM’s newsline wattlerangenow
In a tribute to the former Chairman of 5THE FM, the late Boyd Groeneveld, we are posting the full eulogy and the messages presented by three of Boyd’s friends at the funeral. There have been many requests for copies and it seemed fitting that we make these available through our 5THE FM’s on-line news page wattlerangenow.
Boyd Groeneveld Eulogy – by Sheryl Lowe 27/4/2015
“Some weeks ago, Boyd asked me to perform the Eulogy, so I have had time to think about Boyd and what he meant to his family, friends and community and time to talk to Boyd about his life. I am honoured that he would trust me with such an important duty.
Boyd had input into the eulogy providing me with names of people he wanted to thank; and he did check the early drafts as you would expect any good lawyer to do. However he gave me license to write the eulogy as I thought best; so Boyd, I have taken you at your word and believe I have created a stronger summation to present to the judge today!
I first met Boyd at a 5THE FM AGM 11 years ago. He arrived in what I think of now as his trademark leather jacket, blue jeans and aviator sunglasses.
Soon after this first meeting, I got to know Boyd very well when he became the trusted Chairman of 5THE FM again, he was the station’s loyal legal advisor for 21 years , the cavalry in times of need, and soon became a valued personal friend. In my role as Manager of 5THE FM; I valued him as a constant in my work there.
Boyd Groeneveld – Lawyer, White Ribbon Ambassador, thespian, songster, and family man.
‘Boudewyn or Boyd as we all affectionately knew him, had a second name which he hardly ever used; saying he thought Boudewyn Groeneveld was enough of a mouthful for people – but it was Johannes.
Boyd was born in Holland in 1949 but was a resident of Australia since 1951 and was first and foremost a proud Australian citizen. Born of Dutch migrant parents, is survived by his cherished wife Helen and dearly loved teenage son, Konrad. Boyd and Helen were married for 20 years.
Konrad’s birth in 1995 was a wonderful and almost miraculous addition to the family, Boyd often said. Indeed an ad was placed in the paper saying, and I quote – “He surfed in on the last wave.” After all, Helen was 43 and Boyd 45 years of age at the time of Konrad’s birth.
Since then Boyd and Helen have been able to see Konrad grow and mature into a fine young man. Already, Konrad looks to have a promising future, but Boyd told me it was one of his greatest regrets that he would never see grand-children.
Boyd came to Millicent in 1990 where he conducted his own business as a solicitor, up to the time of his original diagnosis of terminal cancer last February 2014.Since living in Millicent, the majority of Boyd’s time was devoted to family and ofcourse, his law firm Groeneveld & Associates.
Boyd always strived to conduct his business as a professional occupation rather than purely a money making concern. In short, he often tailored his bill to what he perceived to be affordable by the average person in Millicent.
Boyd told me he always wanted to be a small town lawyer, helping people who needed it most. Country people need representation too, he said.
I do know that Boyd enjoyed his wins with what may be referred to as a ‘hot shot city lawyer.’
Boyd topped the state in his law exams; due to a knack for retaining information he told me.
He never condescended to anyone. He never made anyone feel they were less important than the next person. He never insisted on pomp and ceremony in his dealing with clients, indeed, he was rarely known to wear a suit and tie or any other corporate camouflage for that matter.
Informality was his by-word. In saying that, Boyd was always immaculate. In fact his style could be described as dapper.
One of Boyd’s regrets at the time of selling his business, was that he could no longer serve his clients.
A story came to light in the past weeks, about how Boyd and Helen came to have a family dog, Shadow. It belonged to a client of Boyd’s and when she passed away, her family was at a loss what to do with the dog – as they all lived interstate – Boyd simply said – I’ll take it home with me – lucky dog!
Many would not know that Boyd would often slip $100-00 into a clients hand if they needed money for petrol or another emergency – he was always rewarded for his trust by being paid back as soon as they found it was possible. Often that money was to make sure they could attend court and not make their situation more difficult that it already was.
Boyd said, “I have sat opposite some of the worst criminals in society and yet I have always found there is some good in everyone.
He said he often thought over the years, he would do more community work in retirement. Ofcourse, not realising early retirement would be forced on him. Just before the setback to his recovery in November, he decided to start a free legal advice service one day a week from an office at 5THE FM.
‘There are people who just need some advice or direction without it costing them’ – he said.
Unfortunately, because of failing health he was unable to do this, but he remained loyal to friends who needed advice and also remained involved with 5THE FM in his role as Chairman. While he was still able to walk to the street, he regularly strode down to the station for a chat and to keep his finger on the pulse.
When we first started talking with Boyd about starting a free legal advice service – he said to me one day
”I’d like to, but what if my treatment has an adverse affect on me and I’m not 100 %”
I said, “Ohhhh Boyd – you at 50% is still better than many others at 100%.”
He thought about it for a while and then said. “You’re probably right Sheryl.”
Above all Boyd was a Port Power supporter when it came to AFL Football, and it was another great regret of his that he would not be alive to celebrate their inevitable winning of the 2015 Premiership. He is probably up there now, saying – ‘Go PORT POWER.’
The music for today was specially selected by Boyd. The first being a Napoleonic March commemorating one of Napoleons many triumphant victories over the Austrian Army – at Marengo, in the late 19th Century, called the Marche de la garde consulaire a Marengo. It was a piece of music that the late Gough Whitlam reportedly wanted played at his funeral, but it was not; so that’s one Boyd got over Gough at least.
The second piece is a Welsh traditional song from the Sound track of the film ‘Empire of the Sun.’ – called Suo Gan.
The third one is by Mozart Ave (Arvay) Verum sung by St John’s Choir England
(The Millicent Choral Society followed with a beautiful version of the same song.)
Boyd had a say in the afternoon tea which will follow also, wanting to make sure that everything was organised. He wanted a mental picture of what we would all be doing today; imagining the setting in the garden at 5THE FM later this afternoon to which you are all invited.
He said he knew my penchant for organising occasions and trusted me to do so for him.
I assured Boyd there’d be no sign of plastic – No sir!
In fact I told Boyd it would be so classy …… he’d wish he was here.
…….and of course we do too.
Boyd’s life was regrettably cut shorter than he wished but he would be the first to admit that he had an enjoyable and a productive life and above all was greatly comforted by the knowledge that he was passing his baton over to sure hands in the form of his son Konrad.
When I asked why he and Helen had just one child – he said. “We got it so right the first time we didn’t believe we could do any better.”
It only remains for me to pass on Boyd’s most grateful thanks to those persons who have given so generously of their time and other resources during his last months and hours of need.
Boyd has kindly insisted I firstly make specific mention of myself . However I assured Boyd that any small thing I was able to do for him, I considered to be a privilege.
Boyd wanted special thanks made to Barry Phillips – Boyd said this may perhaps surprise some people; but he said of Barry – “a kind and considerate man in every respect – a genuine Good Samaritan with a heart of gold.” And that is a quote direct from Boyd.
Boyd wanted a special mention made of Susan Fabris, who he said “carried out her work duties, well above and beyond the call of duty” during those many years when she was employed as his Legal Secretary.
Sue told me that just after she began work for Boyd…….on about the 3rd day, she was feeling very overwhelmed – she dissolved into tears and said to Boyd,
“I just can’t do this, there is just so much to learn. “
He calmly said, “ Sue you have only just started and there’s a lot to learn. We’ll take it at your pace and if there’s anything extra you need to learn, you can go to TAFE, and I’ll pay for it all.”
And so began a successful almost 20 year professional relationship.
Sue told me, occasionally Boyd would say to her when she gave him ’lip’ over the years “you’ve come a long way from that girl that came into my office in tears all those years ago.”
Boyd was never more grateful for Sue’s professionalism and commitment than when he became ill. He was able to leave his business and his clients in her capable hands during his treatment and trips to Adelaide. He appreciated her loyalty so much.
Further mention must be made of his friend, Marius Bersee for his kind and considerate support during Boyd’s final weeks and the deliveries of coffee to the house, to share as they chatted, and the daily visits to the hospital in the last weeks. Such a good friend Marius has been to Boyd.
When Boyd learned of his diagnosis, he decided to sell his business. Rebekah and I visited him in Adelaide Hospital only days after his diagnosis and his mind was already made up; he would sell his business and make sure his affairs were in order and Helen was taken care of. So he sold his business to the firm of Hume Taylor – he told me he was grateful for the smooth transition and wanted to thank them for their many kindnesses during this process.
Just the day after coming out of brain surgery he asked for a pen and paper and he wrote down the names of all 51 American states to prove to himself, that – as he put it – he was ok. His memory was intact.
To the Reynolds family, Erica and John Reynolds and children, they have been valued family friends over the years and he has been grateful for their friendship and knows that this friendship will endure with Helen. He enjoyed the friendship very much even though John is (gasp) a Hawthorn supporter! And Boyd said I must gasp here.
Groeneveld & Associates was a tenant in Fosters building, almost the entire length of Boyd’s professional life in Millicent, and he wanted them to know that the Foster family’s kindnesses, beginning with Bob, were greatly appreciated; especially those shown him by Brian, Kathy and David since his diagnosis.
A special thank you must also be made to Dr VanEeden for his thoughtful and compassionate care of Boyd. And grateful thanks also must be made to the staff at the Millicent hospital for their kind and gentle care of Boyd.
Phil Golding’s care and compassion for Boyd in recent weeks was a great comfort to Boyd too. His daily visits to the hospital meant a lot to Helen and Boyd. And I now have a little story of fun and friendship. What happens when a soon to be priest, an eccentric (Boyd) and a former hippie get together once a month with a take-away meal and can I say two of these were thesbians. They pretended they made the meal and discussed the pros and cons of each other’s culinary skills! It’s just called friendship! I’ll let you work out who is who! Perhaps this was the real beginning of Masterchef!
Last but not least, mention must be given to John and Doriana McLoughlin for their kindness and support over the years. Boyd told me this friendship meant a great deal to him. From what I understand; a Christmas dinner was a part of that early friendship.
Boyd said to me – ‘The same could be said of many others whose names have not been mentioned here today.’ And he wanted you to know, you have been important in his life too.
Family was important to Boyd, even more so since his diagnosis.
Boyd wanted to thank his brother- in- law Russell, whose assistance over the months was most valuable and appreciated.
Emile, his twin brother and Emile’s wife Denise were also a great support from the beginning to the end of his illness and he made special mention of them to me too.
When growing up together in Renmark, Boyd and Emile fought like cat and dog, and I remember Boyd telling me a long time ago at a 5THE FM Board meeting actually that one such tussle resulted in a broken bedroom door in the family home, much to the chagrin of their parents. I believe the door was lifted right off its hinges. In spite of these spats, their twin brotherly relationship has remained affectionate and intact over the years. Boyd said he would be the first to admit he was in the wrong, on many of these occasions of conflict. Over the years I have tried, unsuccessfully, to imagine Boyd tussling on the floor with his brother or anyone for that matter!
Boyd also talked about his time with the Millicent Choral Society of whom Boyd was (when he had the time) an enthusiastic member for many years. I am told that Boyd gave Michael Bleby some cheek during that time but Boyd very much enjoyed his time and singing with the society.
Helen his wife, told me that Boyd would often come home after practice or performances whistling or humming one of the tunes. He hopes and trusts that the Society will continue strongly and replenish its stocks of singers in the near future.
He said the Society is made up of a wonderful group of people whom he came to know and appreciate up to when further participation was prevented by his illness.
Boyd was committed to his role as Chairman of 5THE FM and he told me he was just pleased that his role had helped get the station back on track and he hoped that good people would continue to support the station and it never again suffered the ills of a decade ago.
He remained the longest serving Chairman of 5THE FM and the most effective in the 21 year life of the station; having brought stability to the station in its darkest hour. 5THE FM’s board presented Boyd with a Life Membership Award of appreciation in March 2015 in recognition for his Outstanding Contribution to 5THE FM over the years.
Boyd very much enjoyed living in the Millicent Community. He told me Millicent had a greater spirit of community than anywhere else he had lived or known and he was particularly moved by the many kindnesses shown him by people in the street when he was still able to take Helen out for their regular morning coffee.
Boyd placed a great deal of importance on his fitness and would be seen walking to his office and back most days, easily recognisable by his individual stride; and it became what we often referred to as ‘ Boyd having his walk on‘, always with his headphones on, listening to his favourite music – pre 1899 ?
Over the years he could often be seen walking around Millicent on weekends. Even after surgery he maintained his daily walks until very recently.
One of Boyd’s greatest appreciations through all of t his, was time!
Time to complete business transactions, time to arrange finances for Helen’s future, time to tell clients he appreciated their trust, time to call friends; but most of all time to spend with Helen and Konrad. Boyd said to me many times, he was so grateful he was given the time to make sure his wife Helen and son Konrad knew how much he loved them. He said many people don’t get the chance to say these things and for Boyd the time he had left after his diagnosis, what-ever time that would be; he wanted to devote to his family. He looked forward to dinners with Konrad, now at University in Adelaide, during his trips to the city for scans and treatment.
It was very clear to those of us who knew him that Konrad was the pride and joy of his life and what he considered to be his greatest achievement; one ofcourse he shared with Helen.
We sometimes wonder why our loved one, parent, brother, sister, friend is reluctant to have us visit when they are ill. In Boyd’s case it wasn’t because he didn’t want to see those special to him; rather, he didn’t want them to see him ill. There is such a difference between ‘not wanting to see someone and not wanting them to see us.’ And that’s how it was with Boyd. He wanted to protect us, especially his son Konrad whose recent visit meant so much to him in those last days.
Boyd has been a competent and independent man his whole life, both professionally and privately, and he took it hard when he was unable to remain that way; but his reluctance for visits in no way reflected his love for any one.
Boyd never said a bad word about family or friends, or indeed anyone else he knew; always accepting people with their differences. He showed great understanding to all.
Again in saying that – Boyd was no mans fool and did not shrink from tough situations.
Boyd did not fear death.
His attitude was always – what comes….. comes!
And he said those exact words to me when I visited him just days before he left us.
One of his favourite quotations from Shakespeare involving this issue and one he specifically asked me to include today is:-
“We are such stuff as dreams are made of
and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
From Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest” spoken by the character Prospero.
So Boyd, dear friend, – may you enjoy the Peace that passes all Understanding and may God bless you.”
Boyd Groeneveld Chairman 5THE FM – by Rebekah Lowe
Boyd was the longest serving Chairman of 5THE FM in the 21 year history of broadcasting. Boyd was involved with 5THE FM right from the beginning offering legal advice and serving a term in the role of Chairman in the station’s very early years.
My relationship with Boyd began about 11-12 years ago when Boyd Chaired a 5THE FM AGM.
This relationship grew through a very dark time in the stations life a decade ago. His concern for the station quickly turned to action with the removal of a small group of bullies at the station. He said 5THE FM was too valuable an organisation to be destroyed and he accepted the role of Chairman again about 8 years ago and remained in that position until his death. It was this decision by Boyd and the stability his presence brought to the station that provided the means for its on-going successes.
‘Boyd abhorred bullying – having been bullied at school because he was a from a working class family, had a funny name and was a migrant.
His intolerance for bullying was also evident with his decision to support 5THE FM’s White Ribbon campaign – eliminating violence against women. It was with his support that the station initiated this campaign. He attended the annual events on White Ribbon Day when his business permitted and was also a guest speaker at several of White Ribbon Day events. White Ribbon Day in November last year (2014) was the last time Boyd attended the station and he enjoyed the day chatting with people.
We watched Konrad grow up through his father’s eyes. Every 5THE FM Board meeting we heard about Konrad’s latest achievements, both academic and sporting. He was indeed a proud Dad.
Boyd has always been modest about his part in the stations survival and revival, but his unwavering support and the stability he brought to the station has allowed the management to progress the station to the point of national recognition.
“I can’t believe he is gone.”
Boyd was recognised by 5THE FM with an ‘Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Service,’ on March 6th 2015, for his extensive legal assistance over 21 years, his unwavering commitment and contribution to 5THE FM.
Editors note:- During Boyd’s Chairmanship 5THE FM earned the title of “Most Outstanding Small Station in the Nation 2012-13 in the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia national CBAA awards” . The station has been a Finalist in 6 categories in the National CBAA Awards in the past 3 years; won the title of “Most Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Community Radio in Australia – by Rebekah Lowe CBAA 2014 Awards” and locally has been recognised with the Duel International Lions Medal of Merit by Millicent Lions 2014 Sheryl and Rebekah Lowe.
He supported the 5THE FM led health campaign to save Millicent Hospital Obstetric Services in 2013.
Boyd continued to support the on-going re-build of the station, being particularly pleased that the latest project is to convert the station to solar power.
He was always proud of the 5THE FM’s achievements and was particularly pleased when recognition for the station came from local businesses and individuals in the community.’
Boyd Groeneveld and the Company of 7 – by Phil Golding
Boyd strode onto the amateur theatre stage with Millicent’s Company of Seven, on 3 occasions in the early 1990s.
He first appeared in “The Bat”, a play about a homicidal psychopath. Boyd was cast as “The Unknown Person” and consistent with his real-life criminal law occupation, he was attracted to and suffered at the hands of the lead villain. My apology to all of us villains present.
His next role was in a British Farce titled “Strike Happy”, a play about the impact of North-England Industrial Disputes on Family Harmony. Boyd had the name Benjamin Tapeworth, and was described by Fred Smith in the SETimes18thMarch’93, as “a not so stuffy public servant who dropped his trousers not once, but twice, on stage”.
The play’s stage-manager reports that Boyd resisted the script’s requirement to show a fear of rats; and that as an actor he preferred his own direction. This will not be a surprising revelation to his family and colleagues. Sincerity, not fake, was highly valued by Boyd.
Boyd also contributed to the Company’s “Old Time Music Hall” performance at the Somerset Hotel around ’94, but work demands and his growing family, choral and radio-station commitments, made theatre production rehearsal increasingly difficult. Since those times Boyd has remained encouraging and interested in the Company of Seven.
Given that Boyd’s real taste in Culture is from literature, music and theatre preceding the 19th Century, the Company did very well to have in him lower his Standards, as well as his Pants, on the occasions we shared.
We thank him for joining us in the acts of Bravery and Foolhardiness required to front an Amateur Theatre Audience, and we are particularly grateful that he wandered onto the personal and social Stages of our Lives.
And I apologise to Boyd for not memorising these lines!
(Phil Golding on behalf of “The Company Of Seven”)
Boyd Groeneveld the lawyer – by Tom Rymill
“You can tell a Dutchman – but you can’t tell him much!”said Mr Rymill.
Mr Rymill began with humour but through out his tribute to Boyd he spoke with great respect for his colleague and the high degree of integrity Boyd always showed for the law and his clients.
He paid tribute to Susan Fabris, Boyd’s legal secretary of 19 years.
He said he hoped Boyd made in through the Pearly Gates but he was sure Boyd would have spent some time contesting the admission fee and would have probably won!
Editors Note- 5THE FM ‘s Chairman recognised for outstanding service.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) endorsed Boyd’s recent award and added their congratulations for his contribution to 5THE FM and the Community Broadcasting sector. The CBAA honoured Boyd again by posting a tribute to him on the CBAA website on hearing of his passing
‘Boyd is survived by his much loved wife Helen and adored son Konrad and will be sadly missed by family, friends and community.‘