The eulogy read at the funeral of Arthur Reginald John Moxon 23 Dec 1913 - 2 Aug 2011
What a lovely man he was. If you wrote a book about Dad an appropriate title might be Arthur Reginald John Moxon : a love story. He loved his darling wife Gwen, his daughters, his grand children, his great grand children and all their extended families as well as his sister Maisie and her four boys. He always took the keenest interest and pride in everything any of us did and was the source of up-to-date details on the complex lives of our Wiseman rellies.
Does anyone here recall Dad saying I love you (apart from to Mum on her deathbed?). Probably not. Does any one of us doubt he loved each one of us dearly - I don't think so.
He may not have lived a large life in terms of public achievement but it was a big life as a loving and loved family man. As ill health, his crushing deafness, increasing loss of sight and the devastating grief from the death of his darling Gwennie restricted his life the support and love from his ever extending family grew and gave him reason to live.
And how do you define a full rich life anyway - Anne went to the funeral of Roger Cundell last week. Mr Cundell was Anne's boss for many years, two weeks older than Dad, a Rat of Tobruk, a business man, a prominent supporter of Legacy - a noted South Australian. St Peter's Cathedral was packed with men in suits - but with no disrespect, I doubt there was any more real love and heartfelt grief in that Cathedral than in THIS room for THIS man.
93! Not bad for a man who quit work at the age of 54 from ill-health and every birthday and Christmas from then on for many years declared that this would be his last one - funny how he stopped saying that when he got into his late 80s. And it's typical of his meticulous planning and concern for his family that he locked all his finances into Mum's name to make it easier for her when he went first! Good plan Dad.
So what words come to mind to describe Reg Moxon. Courage, dignity, integrity, modesty, intelligence and something not so much evident of late - humour. We can't remember him saying a bad word about anyone and he firmly believed in the principle of treating others as you wished to be treated yourself.
And didn't he love words? Increasingly a man of very few words himself, to the very end he would get the Target word in the Advertiser quicker than we could write it in huge print for him. One of the last words he said to me was COURGETTE!! He once wrote me a letter of several pages without using the letter E - I tried to write one back, but couldn't get further than Hi Dad, without an E creeping in!
He loved his sport and for many years was not only club champion of the Port Noarlunga Bowling Club but either President, Secretary or Treasurer or all three, and when he couldn't play bowls any more he beat them all at Pool. He was a trainer at the Port Noarlunga Football Club in his early days and loved the Port Adelaide Football Club and the Power with a passion. On Sunday when I left him he was watching the Showdown - maybe that's when he decided it was time to go!
As his eyesight worsened his TV became his main source of entertainment and distraction and he would watch not only his beloved footy but cricket and tennis and lawn bowls and swimming and skiing and netball and surfing and even wrestling and skateboarding and all those weird new extreme sports. In the end he couldn't read the scores but could tell what was happening by the amount of hugging and backslapping.
Dad was a thoughtful man. He stayed one step ahead of things. When I was learning to drive he always said not to worry about the car in front, but the car in front of the car in front. He knew from an early age his health was compromised and although there wasn't a lot of money around he built his assets to provide for him and Mum in the days long before the term 'self-funded retiree' was even heard of. He knew when it was time to stop driving and just did. He left Port Noarlunga after over 50 years without a murmur because Mum couldn't manage any more with hills and steps and never said anything to indicate how much he didn't want to go. HE decided when it was time to go into the nursing home - sorry sis, residential care facility - and it is a tribute to his gentlemanly nature that in the three years he was at Oaklands the staff who knew him best came to care for him deeply.
One of the saddest things about Dad was that he was passionate about music and played the cornet as a young man. As kids the radiogram was always blasting out Mario Lanza, or Oklahoma, or 40s swing or Bing Crosby. We caught him crying a couple of years ago because the Edinburgh Tattoo was on TV and he couldn't hear any of it. Christmas carols on TV did him in too.
To say life wasn't easy for Dad after Mum died is a bit of an understatement. Mum wasn't just his soul mate - in practical terms she was his ears and his link to the world. Remember Dad hadn't used a telephone since 1967 except for that brief amazing time around when Mum died and he had the TTY. Didn't we freak out at the sound of Dad's voice on the phone!
Until Mum died, Dad was often in the background, sitting in his office looking after the family finances or doing other secret men's business. Without Mum, Dad was now locked in his silent world with his terrible grief, gradually losing his sight. On the positive side, we finally got to know him!!
The day came when he couldn't see to read his large print books any more, (and WHAT a reader he'd been all his life), the jigsaw days were long in the past by then, the ritual of the weekly cross-quiz went - there was always fierce competition to beat him at it, which we never won - but he managed his finances - admittedly with increasing assistance from Anne - Thanks Sis! - and it's not that long ago that he made a killing on CBA - and of course he didn't sell them all.
The pens we used to communicate with him got fatter, the text bigger and the conversations shorter. (I had a strong urge to stand here silent and do this whole thing with a texta and a ream of yellow A4).
Did Dad ever complain? Not often and when frustration briefly flared it was a sure sign that he wasn't well. As each thing was taken from him there'd just be a wry shrug of the shoulders - and in spite of all that - there was always a sense of independence about him and that sharp brain of his was active until the very end.
Speaking of frustration - remember how he used to swear? We never heard him say a really REALLY rude word but he could pack the most a-bloody-mazing bloody amount of bloody bloodies into one bloody sentence especially when his bloody footy bloody team was bloody losing.
Our heads are telling us Dad's death is a blessed release, it was time for him to go, the quality of his life so seriously diminished since his last extended hospital stay, but in our hearts the memories are rushing in and we're bereft.
And a lovely line Anne has never forgotten from an author she has forgotten - To live in the hearts of those we leave behind, is not to die".
So this is obviously a VERY sad time for us, but let's take a leaf out of Dad's book here - let's remember him now sitting at the bar in his bowls outfit, eyesight intact, hearing aids not whistling, with Mum right next to him, having a quiet beer, playing crib or doing a cryptic crossword, Port Adelaide winning the footy and his shares ticking up.
We know Dad will always be with us just as Mum is, and he leaves us with his values of family first, last and always to live lives modestly and well without doing harm to others. Wherever you are Dad, you're now with your beloved Gwen and you can HEAR.
Let's lighten up a bit now -Remember how Dad used to always come up with an hilarious joke at Christmas - his slow delivery and build up to the punch line? Well this is when we were going to show the video of Dad telling one of his gorgeous jokes. We thought it was on the bloody video Trevor bloody took for Mum's bloody 80th bloody birth- bloody-day but we couldn't find the bloody thing any bloody where.
However Janet did remember when we were kids, that on many a Saturday morning Dad would tell Mum he was going to see a man about a dog. It took years for us to work out that he was nicking down to the pub for a couple of quiet beers with his mates and as Janet said, we never did get the bloody dog.
And finally - in the infinite wisdom of small children who get to the heart of the matter - remember that Cooper reinterpreted
Pappy as Happy!