Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Grandpa's Eulogy.

Charlie Tuffley was my Grandpa, and today I have the honour to deliver his eulogy. It is an honour, because although it has been difficult to put into words the man he was and the amazing ammount he accomplished in his life, I am happy and proud that Charlie is my Grandpa. His love, hard work and example has shaped and moulded our family to what it is today. Charlie was a man of few words, but obviously I didn't inherit this quality, and today I have a lot to say about him.

Charles Tuffley was the middle son of Arthur Edwin Tuffley and Agnus Daisy Reilly, and was born in Katanning on the 15th of June, 1931. His parents were farmers and middle aged by the time they had the three boys. They were devout Catholics, instilling in the boys a deep sense of faith and love of God, a well as a strong work ethic. His mother was a very kind ad giving woman, dedicating 20 years of her life to looking after her brother's children.

Charlie was raised on a farm called Bonnie-Donne in Nyabing, located east of Katanning. He went to school at Bungardoon Hall. There were many small halls like this, scattered all over Western Australia for locals to gather for school, church and social events. Charlie and his brothers attended school with 10 other students in mixed grades. with one teacher. Charlie was like any other young boy, and whilst he was visiting his Auntie Vi in Kojonup they came to her house to find two fresh loaves joined in the middle. Hungry, they split the loaves in half and ate the middle, leaving the crust. Feeling quite guilty, they joined the loaves together again with Tarzan grip and took off.

His first job was at the age of 15, was at the Nyabing General Store. Charlie was sports minded and he joined all the local clubs; football, tennis, shooting and cricket. You name it, he was in it. Whilst still living at home they attended church in Dumbleyung on their motorbikes. Sometimes, on the way home, they would secretly acquire a couple of bottles of beer. It was against their parents wishes to drink any alcohol, so to keep the peace (and the beer cold) the beer was stored in the dam, tied to an retrived by a piece of binder twine. Often the sheep would trample the string and they would lose the beer. Charlie and Leo both developed as exceptional swimmers; it's amazing what a little motivation can achieve.

Charlie, like his parents, was a keen traveller. He visited man towns, including Busselton, Carnarvon, Albany and Perth. On one of the trips Charlie went with Tom Lawless, a good Irish shearing mate, and they went to the Irish Club, in Highgate, Perth. As they walked through the door, Pat asked her sister, "Who are the two good looking guys that have just come in?" Towards the end of the night, after a few beers, Charlie asked Patricia Shore for the last dance and then asked if he could escort her home. She said no, obviously! As he had had too much to drink and needing a lift for her sisters, Pat said she would drive them all to her place. They managed to get eleven - six in the back and five in the front - in an FX Holden.

Pat was sure she would never lay eyes on that man again however, Charlie remembered where Pat lived and visited her the next afternoon. On knocking at the front door, Charlie had to meet the entire family; ten daughters and two sons! Robert Shore, Pat's Dad immediately said, "Where do you come from, sonny?"
Charlie answered, "A place called Nyabing."
"And, what do you do?"
"We are wheat and sheep farmers."
"Are you Catholic, son?"
All the important questions it seems.

With a long distance relationship, a lot of letters were sent back and forth and Charlie came to Perth as often as he could. In 1956, after courting for two years, Charlie and Pat were married in St Kieran's Church, now the hall next door. They went to the farmto star their married life. After a short while, Pat's father decided the young couple needed a cow. So he bought Strawberry, and she was taken down to th farm.She was a strange cow; every time she came into season, she would jump the fence in search of a mate. However, she always managed to come home. This happened year after year; a new calf would arrive, and amazingly at the same time Pat was usually having a baby. Since that year, 1957, Charlie and Pat now have a grand total of 50 descendants. Obviously, Charlie and Pat had no television, but a loving marriage.

Charlie and Pat had seven children, two daughters and five sons. In 1969, they decided to move to Perth for te sake of the children's education. As it was imposible to purchase enough land for five sons they share cropped with Leo and Charlie kept sheep. Leaving,and then selling the farm, in Charlie's own words, was the worst thing that he ever did, and his love for farming and the bush always remained with him. They purchased their first real house in Innaloo. This has been the Tuffley family home ever since.

Charlie embraced life and never shied away from a challenge or hard work. In 1977, they bought the Palace Hotel in Ravensthorpe. The business had a lot of promise and Charlie took it in his stride, becoming a publican and boss in a thriving business. He always had a happy and welcoming smile for patrons and although he was a man of few words, he enjoyed a laugh and a drink. In 1987,Charlie and the boys went into partnership in the Belair Gardens Caravans Park, in Geraldton. They worked hard, making improvements including building the campers kitchen, onsite chalets and the playground, as well as undertaking many renovations and improvements. Charlie and the boys spent many hours together, maintaining and improving up until 1994, when Charlie and Pat retired to Innaloo.

Charles Tuffley was a husband, father, grandfather and friend to all of us. As we stand here to honour his life, it is natural to be a little bit sad, but we have so much more to celebrate. I am happy that I have Charlie as my grandfather. I am happy that he is a part of my life and my memories. Who we are and the family we see today is a product of his love and hard work. We should all endevour in our lives to live as he did, working hard without complaining, and with complete and utter devotion to our families. If we could pass on even half of the qualities to our children that he demonstrated in his life, I know we wouldbe better for it.         

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