A country boy, from Dover, 80km south of Hobart, Dad boarded at Friends’
School for his high school education. As a youth, Dad was a very good
runner, winning the 1950 Tasmanian Schoolboys’ 880 yard event as well as
being a member of the school’s winning cross country team.
He was also a very good amateur footballer, playing in 4 premierships
and in 1964 at the age of 30, unexpectedly winning selection in the
state team for the Australian Amateur Championships, held that year in
Dad was an exceptional mature age student. Over a six year period he
gained his Society of Accountants qualification, topping the state in
several exams, gaining honours and twice topping Australia in auditing
and taxation subjects, before his graduation in 1965.
Dad was fitness-focused. He was a learner who was interested in, and
learnt about, other people and other cultures. He was witty and he was a
community leader. He was surprising and sometimes, quirky. Dad was
genuine and he was loyal.
Most of all, I want you to know that Dad was a loyal husband to Mum for
52 years and he was a very involved and influential father to me, Mary,
Jill and Anne.
Dad constantly read to me as a child, fuelling my love of reading that
continues to this day. I especially loved the stories he read from the
book of West Indian Folk tales. Dad kicked the footy with me. Dad bowled
to me in the front and back yard. He took me floundering at Dover. He
drove me to all my school cricket and football matches. He attended all
the productions I acted in and he rightly took me to task when I failed
to live up to my commitments and his expectations.
Even in recent years, Dad’s perceptive comments about my various blog
posts was feedback I valued more than any other person’s. Most
importantly, Dad was there for me when my first marriage failed and I
needed my father’s support more than at any time in my life.
Dad kept his health up with walking and swimming until his late 70’s
when he suffered from, what we subsequently discovered to be, small
vessel disease of the subcortical white matter of the brain. In layman’s
terms, this is a series of small, and often unrecognised strokes that
lead to cognitive impairment.
For Dad, this slowly became both debilitating and demoralising . When my
sister, Mary died of breast cancer in January 2012, we were all
devastated but I have no doubt, Dad took it hardest of all. This tragic
event marked the beginning of a slow but significant decline in Dad’s
physical and mental health from which he never recovered.
How do I sum up Dad’s life?
In one of his many scrapbooks I founded a list called: Ten Rules for
Meeting and Greeting.
The final rule is this:
Dad was willing. Dad was of service to others. And I remember all the
things that he has done for me, my family and for other people over the
Dad – thank you for teaching me how to be a man, a good man. I am very
proud to be your son.
Rest in Peace: Anthony Campbell Clennett.