|JACK HAYWARD WATSON|
|Statement by Karleen Hancock on behalf of the Hancock family, of Mildura.|
I am Karleen Hancock, eldest daughter of Karen and Mark Hancock. I have an older brother Rohen and younger sister Chloe. Mum and I are here today (for all our family) to honour Jack Watson - a true leader, a generous mentor, congenial colleague, trustworthy confidant, and a wonderful friend, who has been a beloved and special member of our extended family for nearly as long as I can remember.
Dad first met Jack in the late 1970's when Jack was a member of the New South Wales Public Service Board. Jack was hearing charges that Dad had brought against another public servant. After carefully weighing up all the evidence Jack found the charges proven and dismissed the person from the service.
Jack's fair, impartial yet very firm manner during the proceedings made a big impression on Dad.
In the early 1980's the then Royal Institute of Public Administration needed a Treasurer and Jack, who had long been active in the leadership of the Institute, persuaded Dad to accept appointment. Thus commenced a close volunteer working relationship that continued in various forms for many years. Jack and Dad used to have regular working sessions at home and before long Mum had joined the efforts too. Many working bees went into the early hours of the morning before Jack climbed into the Volvo to head back to Darley Road.
The bonds of friendship that were forged over those years saw the relationship continue and deepen log after the shared work had ceased.
Jack's passion for the task, however big or small, was very infectious. He was always ready to do anything that needed to be done that made a difference. Along the way he made those who were involved with him in the task feel special and appreciated.
While he was extraordinarily generous, he also had a great sense of economy and those here today who worked with him in any way will no doubt have shared in his recycled envelopes and notes on the back of no longer required papers!
Jack's generosity saw him give Dad the garden seat off his front porch from Randwick when he knew Dad was looking for a garden seat like the one Dad used to sit on at his grandmother's place as a boy. Jack wouldn't hear of being paid for it. So we named it the Watson seat and Jack was very pleased. He laughed heartily some years later when he heard that Mum's sister had told a colleague to buy a "Watson seat" if she wanted a nice garden seat. Not surprisingly no shop in Sydney had ever heard of such a thing!
From the very beginning Jack was alsways kind and interested in we children, even when we were very small. He would always talk with us, want to know how we were going and have some gentle guidance for us to think about. He delighted in being with us for celebrations - birthdays (ours and his), Christmas and other occasions whether special or not. Over time he became "Uncle Jack" to us and he liked that!
We shared many happy time. Jack was equally in his element if it involved dinner at Sydney Tower restaurant followed by the Phantom of the Opera (he had a little sleep there), or a BBQ at home followed by Chloe's and my brownie concert at the local hall in Caringbah.
Until 5 years ago, when we moved to Mildura, he always came to see us on Christmas eve and we swapped presents. He had his regulars - Dad a bottle of Gordon's gin, Mum Paddington chocolates and often commemorative coins from the mint as well as Tim Tams for us Children. No one in our family can see or eat Tim Tams and not think of Jack!
Since we moved to Mildura it has not been possible to be together with Jack so much. We have missed him and we know that he has missed us. He did come to Mildura to see us a few times, the latest being last year when he came down especially for Dad's induction as President of his Rotary Club. Rotary was another important area of Jack's life, but one where he was happy to serve and not lead - well at least not directly we suspect!
Jack would meet Dad for breakfast at a hotel if Dad was in Sydney. Jack was particularly impressed one morning when the dining room was congested they retreated to Dad's room and ordered breakfast there as room service. When Mum came to Sydney they would go out or sometimes we'd visit him at home .... although he was always so busy that he mostly didn't feel that home was well enough organised for visitors.
Jack, we who have known and loved you are the better for you having been part of our lives and the world is a better place for you having been a part of it.
A couple of years ago, I was reading some poetry and I came across an epitaph written by Robert Burns. At the time, the words struck me as they so closely resembled the life and attitudes of a man I had known and loved my whole life, and fondly came to call "Uncle Jack". It's called "On my Own Friend and my Father's Friend" and I'd like to share it with you now in honour of Jack Watson, my own friend, my father's friend, my families' friend.
|"An honest man here lies at rest
As e'er God with his image blest;
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth.
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm'd,
Few heads with knowledge so informed.
If there's another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this."
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