The chapel was filled with families hugging, talking, laughing, children running around… Bob’s casket sitting at the front. I could imagine him sitting back in his chair watching the Hannaford clan gathering. Bob could be proud of this lovely family energy, a sense of connection, care and support. The Hannaford family are reknown for the Hannaford Banana and Avocado stall in Bruxner Park on the lookout road. I used to shop there when I first came to the area.
Just over a year ago, we had all gathered to say goodbye to Neta, Bob’s wife. The family wanted a very similar ceremony to Neta’s because they loved how that one had flowed.
Three of Bob’s grandchildren, Guy, Kirby and Karla read the eulogy for their granddad. There were tributes from his two daughters, Rhonda and Sharyn, and son, Garry. Then, grandson, Bodie, sent a wonderful recording from London which started with Bodie’s rich voice saying, Hello Robert John, it’s Bodie James here…
The family chose Psalm 23 which cousin, Phil Hannaford read adding in a few stories of his own. After the photo reflection, we were to sing, What a Friend We Have in Jesus to pre-recorded music. However, when the time came, I looked to Ash, the funeral director, and nodded for the music to play… it wasn’t there on the playlist!
It had been many years since I sang at church so wasn’t about to take this one on… the family suggested we just read it. I stepped back up to the lectern and I heard myself asking if there was anyone who would be willing to lead us into the hymn. Phil stood up, and when his cousin, John, saw him stand, he too came to the front. It was truly wonderful! They even managed some harmonies. A truly memorable moment of everyone singing together.
The family gathered for the wake down at the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club, The Jetty Beach House.
Blessings on the Hannaford Family. A chapter of Coffs Coast history has closed.
Bob was a strong and steady presence in your lives. You’ll remember his hardworking, adventurous spirit, his stubbornness and determination, his ability to make and improve things. You will remember life in the banana plantation, branding and dipping the cases, the stalls, the shed out the back of the house…and his capacity to keep on going, to never give up. You’ll fondly remember the holidays four-wheel driving and going to Fraser Island and Red Rock. You won’t miss his cooking and…you will miss his humour and big smile. Bob will be remembered for his loyalty, and his gratitude for you, his family and friends, and for all that was given to him.
Bob will be remembered and honoured as an Elder in the Uniting Church—his devotion to Christ and to prayer was exemplified, like Neta, in his integrity, compassion and service to others.
May your thoughts and hearts continue to be filled with love by both Neta and Bob’s great capacity to love and may you be inspired by their strength and generosity of spirit.
To watch the recorded funeral ceremony visit Keith Logues Facebook page. Friday 6th October 2023.