This is the eulogy delivered by one of Graham's nieces
at his funeral.
Eulogy for Graham Pavett
Graham Lindsay Pavett was born on the 6th of
September 1950 at King George V hospital to Florence and William. He loved the
fact that he was born in1950 as he often commented that it was always easy to
work out how old he was. He had two big sisters Rosemary who was 9 and Laurel
who was 6 and he grew up with them in Gladesville.
For Graham though, his childhood became less than ideal
when at age 13 his mother began a slow descent into early onset dementia. It
began a troubled road for Graham that seemed to follow him throughout his life.
He went to live with his sister Rosemary and her husband Ian while he completed
his Intermediate certificate. He managed to graduate from Meadowbank Boys high
school despite seeing a fair bit of the inside of pool halls.
Graham went on to join the Navy just before his 16th
birthday. He spent a total of 8 years in the Navy with a short stint in Vietnam
during that time. He worked in chart maintenance and meteorology. His mother
passed away when he was 18 years old and serving in the Navy. During that time
he also met and married Janice. They lived in Darwin towards the end of his Navy
career. Unfortunately that time also coincided with Cyclone Tracey in 1974 and
Graham and Janice lost their home and their dog. During the cyclone Graham and
Janice hid in the bath for protection. Whilst taking refuge there some debris
crashed down on Graham and crushed his knee. This injury led to his honourable
discharge from the Navy.
He worked for a while as a mechanic in Darwin before moving
back to Sydney in 1975. Cars and car racing were two of the loves of Graham’s
life, even holding a track licence himself. Between 1975 and 78 Graham continued
to work as a mechanic and also ran a panel beating and spray-painting business
for a time.
In 1978 he joined the Department of Corrective Services
working in both Cessnock and Parramatta Gaols. In 1982 he became an assistant
negotiator and was involved in joint hostage and siege situations. During his
time at corrective services his marriage to Janice broke down and he met Sharon.
Later in the year of 1982 Graham joined the police force.
In his 15year career in the Force he worked in Highway patrol, the drug squad
and communications reaching the level of Senior Constable. He married Sharon in
1985 and in November 1992 his beloved son James was born. Four years earlier
Graham’s father William had passed away. Tragedy struck again in 1995 when his
sister Laurel also died at only 51.
Unfortunately trouble continued to follow him and the
stress and experiences of his job saw him suffer from depression and anxiety. He
sought treatment and alternative roles within the Police Force but was unable to
continue with his duties. In 1997 Graham applied for and was granted a medical
discharge from the police force.
Looking back, the end of his career in the police force may
have been the beginnings of the dementia that eventually robbed him of his life
at only 56. During the next few years his marriage to Sharon broke down and
Sharon and James moved away. They eventually divorced. Graham had to sell their
home and he moved from Buff Point to Mannering Park. During this time his
dementia worsened and unfortunately some people took advantage of this and
slowly his possessions were pilfered away.
It was a difficult time as Graham’s health worsened yet he
was not unwell enough to be protected from those that sought to take advantage
of him. During this time his other sister Rosemary died at age 64 of the same
illness Graham suffered from. At one point after moving back down to Sydney
Graham found himself homeless. We are eternally grateful to Wesley Mission and
in particular Roma Price who became Graham’s caseworker and who found him
successive levels of accommodation as he required them. His last place of
residence was Amity at Ashbury, a secure Nursing Home where Graham got the care
he needed and was safe from the ravages of his illness and from those that took
advantage of his vulnerability.
I think Graham will be remembered for his love of cars –
particularly Holdens, his giftedness in making things from wood, his love of
music and the “latest” song, his love of kids, his love of a joke – particularly
a rude one, his love of dogs, and his generosity.
I knew Graham in a limited way in my childhood but I have
had more to do with him in the last 5 years than anything. I remember Roma
describing him as a “lost soul” and that was how he was. On the few occasions we
had to go out in the dead of night to pick Graham up from somewhere the police
had found him wandering around, he would saunter off with us in his
characteristic shuffle, muttering the longest conversation under his breath but
never angry that his adventures had been thwarted again! He really did seem to
live in his own world at times like this, and I couldn’t help thinking some of
the time that it seemed to be a very interesting, adventurous place he
By the end of his life the only possessions he owned could
fit in two boxes. The greatest loss of his life was his beloved James and he
never ceased talking about him to the very end. His mind was slowly shutting
down but he still tried to keep fit and eat all the right things although his
weakness was for chocolate biscuits. He always had a joke even if it was the
same one he always told and always was happy to see you. Even as he was dying in
his hospital bed he managed to open those bright, sparkling blue eyes and smile.
In the end you could say that Graham, in a sense, was nothing in the eyes of the
world but I know God was meeting him in his muddled mind. Jesus said the first
will be last and the last will be first. Graham ended up last in this world but
I know he’ll be first now sitting there sharing a joke with God. He really was
like one of those we heard about in the scriptures – the poor and rejected that
ended up invited to God’s banquet. Even when stripped of all sensibilities
Graham was a kind and gentle soul that would give you the shirt off his back. I
will always remember that, along with those beautiful gentle blue eyes. He is
now free of everything that held him back – all his inner demons and the
darkness that clouded his mind, free of the trouble that came with his world. Be
at peace Graham Lindsay Pavett you are now free as the wind. We will miss you.