I mentioned in the last posting that I’d lost my uncle, Terry, just over a week ago. He was christened Frank Neville but he never fancied the name until perhaps his deep love of Frank Sinatra made him reappraise its virtues. Uncle makes him sound pretty old; he was actually only 62 when he died, just 7 years older than me. When I was young he was a big influence on me, the nearest I had to a big brother. He’d been suffering some heart heart problems like my mum for a few years and like her he had contracted cancer, which had only recently been diagnosed. He was undergoing a series of tests to assess how badly affected his lungs were. It must have been bad because this vile bloody disease had felled him as quickly as an axe might. Before two weeks were out he’d been taken.
He was a huge guy in every sense of the word; a strapping 6 footer, terrific looker and dresser, easy company and generous to a fault. He also loved to argue. My dad gave a eulogy at his funeral and it was the most poignant I’d ever heard. He remembered fondly Terry’s passion for a debate accurately describing how Terry was sometimes right but never wrong. I don’t know if that’s an original observation but it was Terry to a T. He also observed that Terry had the gift like his mum and also departed sister to only make friends and never enemies. He was one of the most liked guys you could ever wish to meet. I was proud of my father’s words. It was tough on my mum and her surviving sister; they were burying their baby brother to follow their youngest sister. But they were strengthened I think by Bob’s comments.
And so there’s a void created in our family now. He was the original model for the life and soul of the party and they’ve broken the mould with his passing. Of course for Terry’s immediate family the loss will be devasting but we felt the shock waves all the way here and I was pleased to be able to make his funeral, despite the domestic problems we were experiencing here. The speed of his passing was shocking but a relief too. And we can remember him, as he was in his prime; a big personality with a heart to match. And completely irreplaceable as a character. That was Terry and I’ll miss him enormously.