Family and friends gathered at Manning Great Lakes Memorial Gardens Chapel to pay their final respects to Kenneth Charles Malpass, OAM, known to all as Ken, on Friday, November 22, 2019.
The following eulogies were given by Ken's son, Ken Malpass Jnr and grandson Thomas Malpass at the service:
A full life
The reason we are here, to quote the great English philosopher, Monty Python, is that Old Ken is no more. He has ceased to be, is bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to join the Great Committee Meeting in the sky.
I know for a fact if he was standing here next to me looking out onto you all, he would be shaking his head and wondering aloud what you are all doing here and surely there could be something else you could be doing.
Why would you be wasting your time on him? He was a great believer in these proceedings being to the point, so I will try to keep this short.
While you wouldn't wish his last three months on a Parramatta supporter, his previous 91 and 3/4 years were about as full a life as you could imagine.
He joined the Navy as soon as he was old enough and was almost immediately stationed in Japan after the end of the second world war with the UN peacekeeping forces.
When hostilities broke out in Korea his ship and one other were Australia's first involvement in that conflict.
The stories he told of his time in the Navy never ever centred on the battles or the hardships but on the good times and mischief he and his fellows got up to.
To hear him tell his stories, McHale's Navy could have a been a documentary about his time in the service.
Dad's best friend from the Navy used to only refer to him as Skin, after many years of wondering what it meant I asked my Uncle Bruce and was told it was short for Skin that must be touched.
He went on to mention that his shipmates would try to find out when Dad had shore leave and get leave the same time as him.
Apparently when Dad was in town, everyone who was with him usually got lucky.
After the Navy and marriage to Joan, my earliest memories are of living in North Narrabeen and him working three jobs all over Sydney, saving for his biggest adventure, buying the general store and post office at Mount George.
I know that he looked all up and down the coast for the right spot and decided here was the place to put down roots.
There were trying times, but they paled when compared to the good ones.
He made lifelong friends.
My brother and I were bought up in an environment that really was one out of the box.
Retirement saw the olds move into Wingham.
He would often say that he didn't know how he had found time to work.
He was involved in so many varied organisations. He is a life member of at least seven that I can think of.
I would imagine there are people here today who knew him through one or more of these.
Along with retirement came his grand kids, they were really the light of his life.
Their accomplishments and lives were a constant source of amusement and pride. Don't they all look good in their Manly gear??
Old Ken loved sport, in particular cricket and rugby league.
As a youngster, he played some reserve grade for Balmain and would recount the time someone came up to him for his autograph.
I reckoned it must have been a case of mistaken identity.
Mt George Cricket and Wingham Junior League took care of most of his weekends summer and winter for more decades than should be allowed.
He wouldn't have had it any other way.
I don't think he will mind me saying this, but I guess most of you didn't know what a sentimental romantic Old Ken was.
A couple of weekends ago my sister in law and niece were at Old Ken's house looking for mum's wedding rings.
After a fair bit of searching they found the rings in, what should have been the first place they looked, a specimen jar among a supply of out of date medicines.
In conclusion we would like to thank a few folks.
His many doctors and oncologists over the years with a special mention to Dr Stefan Pluski who looked after him for quite a few years and treated him like he could have been a relative. The staff at the Mayo and Karingal Nursing home who did their best to keep him comfortable at the end.
His comrades at the RSL sub branch, who kept in touch and visited him during his hospital stay and before.
Finally a word for his neighbours the Millers, Mum and Dad hit the jackpot the day they moved in next door to them.
- Ken Malpass Jnr
The right man
To know Ken was to know Pop, Dad, Old Ken, Popsicles, Mr Mal.....the affectionate nicknames we would give him could go on and on, as would his patience.
Pop was the embodiment of community and giving. The type of person every community needs, but few have. You'd be hard pressed to find a man as committed to helping others as Ken Malpass.
Pop spent his early days in the Navy before moving from North Narrabeen with Joan, Ken Jnr and Bruce to run the local shop and post office in Mt George.
However it seemed Pop was destined to be busier in retirement than he was in employment.
In fact in his later years it was easier to answer what Pop wasn't involved in, than what he was.
Whether he was umpiring cricket for Mt George Cricket Club, volunteering his time for the Wingham Tigers Junior Rugby League Club, running the Wingham Brush Day Club or his many dutiful years spent on the board of the Wingham Services Club, it was hardly any wonder that you'd need to factor in extra time whenever going anywhere with him; he couldn't take two steps in Wingham without people stopping him for a chat, and he in turn was always happy to oblige.
I could rattle off all the things he achieved in his time, but we'd be here for hours.
Some highlights include over 40 years volunteering for the Tigers, resulting in them naming a field after him in 1995; his Order of Australia Medal, awarded in 2006 for (community services); and recognition for his services in the Navy and community efforts with regular invitations to functions to hobnob with State Premiers - even Gladys remembered him.
He set an incredibly high bar for those around him to live up to.
His four grandchildren, Jessica, Damian, Bryan and I would spend a lot of time with Nan and Pop - particularly during school holidays.
We all have fond memories of our time spent with him and they feel all the more precious to us now that he is gone.
Ranging from joining him in the bumpy post office runs in Mount George, being struck with the butter knife if we had our elbows on the table during meals, his singing of 'oh Lord It's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way', taking Jessica to bingo every time she visited to being roped in to help with his innumerable volunteer efforts along with Nan.
But the memories don't stop there. He had us working in the canteen at the Tigers home games, typing up Trivial Pursuit questions, helping out at Day Club, and of course, we will never forget (despite our best efforts) what was to become the source for many a therapy session: the now infamous Macarena performance he coerced us into doing for everyone at Day Club.
I choose to take this as an example of what people were willing to do for Pop, regardless of whether it meant making a goose of yourself in front of a room full of strangers, we would do it without hesitation because we loved him and we knew there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for his grandkids, his family.
It was a source of great pride that he watched and helped shape his sons and grandchildren to all grow into responsible adults, with families of their own.
He also had the special pleasure in recent years of meeting his first two great grandchildren, Oliver and Sadie. The smile on his face in pictures with them is one of pure joy.
Anyone who knew Pop also knew that he bled maroon and white.
The passion he had for his beloved Manly Sea Eagles was passed down to his children and the most sensible of his grandchildren.
Even though, to his great dismay, the two black sheep grandsons courageously supported other teams, he would still generously include us in all footballing discussions.
Pop spent years trying to live up to winning the maiden Malpass Supercoach competition.
In fact most phone conversations with Pop would somehow find their way back this.
You could be talking about anything, work, family, politics and somehow this conversation would slowly, inexplicably morph into discussing how his players had performed on the weekend, who he was looking to trade in or out of his team and the all-important captaincy choices.
He was special like that.
Pop lived his life by a firm set of values, and what's more, he wasn't afraid to voice them - or to heckle those who got it wrong.
Two such people to incur the wrath of Ken included a speaker at Nan's funeral (mid-speech) as well as the person running Bryan's Air Force induction ceremony as she may have disparaged his beloved Navy.
Pop was always someone you could look to for advice or guidance.
He had time for just about anyone and as a result he was respected and held in the highest regard by his community, in fact by almost everyone he met.
As kids this was something we never fully grasped until later in life when we could see and appreciate the impact he had on people.
Pop was also a tolerant man, exceedingly so as he accepted both Ken and Bruce marrying foreigners, as he would say tongue in cheek, Jessica bringing one into the family, and even worse, Bryan bringing in a Queenslander.
In closing, it seems only fitting to leave the final word to Old Ken.
When interviewed by the Wingham Chronicle on reaching his and nan's 50th wedding anniversary, Pop was asked what the secret to a good marriage was. His response: "Finding the right man".
Everyone sitting here today who knew Pop would know never a truer word had been spoken; when you sought him out you really found the right man.
- Thomas Malpass (grandson)