Ron Drummond Eulogies Ron on stage with 'Currawong' in the mid eighties Nigel Foote left, Ron (centre) , Dawn Egan and Pat (far right) mp.4/quicktime of Ron with Pat , Dawn and Nigel circa 1986 at SBS TV studios Singing "Peace On Our Roads" What follows are the eulogies that were given at Ron's Farewell Ron's Eulogy 1 - Pat
I have an email I would like read you from Malcolm McCallum In New Zealand
Pat and family, please accept our sincere love and condolences.
I have many happy memories of my times with Ron, brief as many of them were compared to your own, and can only agree with you wholeheartedly with what a wonderful bloke, friend and "human bean" he was - natural to the core, giving, intelligent, creative, witty.
He was also one of those people who is a touchstone for others, sparking off ideas and thoughts for them to catch and carry on with if they chose.... Vale Ronaldo, go well, you'll stay in our hearts.
Malcolm touches on pivotal point in his email and I just want elaborate a little on it.
One of Ron's most wonderful and striking qualities was his capacity to think laterally. He had a way of turning the problems of the world around and examining them from what was often the most startling of perspectives.
It was as if he had a gift for seeing things in ways that most of us simply didn't.
When he was child at school in the 1950's and 60's the world was much more regimented place. Most schools and institutions, and the church herself, found such thinking, confronting and challenging. Their response was often authoritarian and dismissive. But try as they might.... and they tried.... they could never squeeze Ron into a conformist world view.. and Thank God for that... for his attitude to life endlessly enriched us all.
He was a man who was filled with visions; both of the possible and the highly improbable, and, if he was unable to implement many of those visions, his very enthusiasm for them opened many of us to the possibility of a myriad of solutions and dreams that were outside the safe, appropriate and predictable options that we too often settle for . We have come along way from the grey, comfortable world of the 1950s into which he was born.These days we place a higher value on the 'left field' perspectives of those who think outside the square... and Ron was, above all else, one of these.
His imagination was a light to us all; throwing odd shadows on a world that now not only tolerates, but applauds such people; for it knows that, in these often complicated and unpredictable times, the way forward is often only possible on what the great Scottish Poet Robert Burns once called 'The Road Less Traveled.'
The other thing I want to say is that, if Ron often found it difficult to bring his own dreams to life, he was nonetheless mightly effective at making it happen for other people.
As such a large beneficiary of that over the years I am in a position to know. His work in production in our crew, with the various charity fundraisers we did, with The Royal Blind Society and with the other theatre and rock acts, was often pivotal to their success. In many ways Ron lived a life of service to others, something that extended into his role in recent years as the prime carer for his young children.
Most of all I remember the strength of his hands and that he was a lways there at the side of the stage just before I went on. When a crowd or a management or a gig was really rough he'd say "Eyes and Teeth, Mate, Eyes and Teeth". It's an old show biz maxim for putting on a brave face, getting on with it and toughing it out.
I'm proud to tell you that he faced his death with that same sort of courage.When I was getting a bit emotional one night towards the end he began making some sort of movement at his oxygen mask. Obtuse as ever, I didn't get it. After a while, I could see he was getting a bit frustrated so, with what was a quite an effort for him , he pulled the mask off to one side and said, "Eyes and Teeth, Mate, Eyes and Teeth"
I'm sure he expects no less of us today .
Ron's Eulogy 2 - Martin Audet
Over the years Ron made a lot friends in music which was always one of his greatest passions. He, was as you know, heavily involved in Pat's recording and performing career, but he was also active in production work with lots of other acts including Eddie and The Starlighters, The Zarzoff Brothers and The Conway Bros. Band throughout the 80's and 90's. And he was always highly regarded by other musicians.
There are two emails I'd like read you The first from Judy Small.
I'm so sorry to hear this news. I will imagine the music at Holy Innocents on Tuesday as you sing his spirit home. Know that I am singing with you.
With warmest wishes
and this one from Eric Bogle
To All The Drummond Family
So then: his bright brief day has run
And the bonds of blood are broken
No regrets now: for old dreams left undone
Or for words of love unspoken
He now lives in your hearts: but then he always did
In some quiet yet soul-deep measure
Celebrate then: a life well lived
And love: life's greatest treasure.
My sympathies to you all
Eric remind's us that Love is always the cornerstone of a life well lived and it was something that Ron gave and received in full measure. The friends and family gathered here today are testament to that fact. Ron's life was sometimes complicated but it was never without the passion for friends and family which was so ably demonstrated by their presence during those final days at RPA.
My own thanks go to the family for inviting me into "the fold" and enabling me to participate in Ron's last gig. It is, as it has always been with Ron, an honour and a privilege. To see Rebecca and Claire, Amanda and Tim, with people from all the areas of his life's history; his brothers, his father and his friends gathered in one unbreakable circle of affection around him must have been a great comfort to him.
We do sincerely want to thank the staff at QE2 at RPAH. In their compassionate care, his last days were spent surrounded by love, music and a little 'smuggled' Guinness.
It is probably appropriate for us to also acknowledge at this point some very special people, Professor John Gibson at RPAH , The Leukemia Foundation and last but certainly not least Ron's brother, Geoff. We thank them for the great gift of their medical skill, given so tirelessly, to Ron and his family over the last year.
"His song is unfinished, the last verses never written, but the melody was the sweetest of them all."
Pat snd Ron setting up at Journey's End Wine Bar in 1978 (Martin Audet right)
Ron's Eulogy 3 - Carol
Ron's musical journey with his brothers has over the years involved a number of hugely talented people who, probably against their better judgment found themselves co-opted into their various projects, finding out far too late that it meant becoming honorary 'Drummonds' As an 'honarary' Drummond myself my sympathy goes to folks like Ivor Davies, Glen Barwick, Marion Henderson, Peter Hunt, Bernard James, Marcus Holden, Jim Conway, and many many others found themselves press ganged into everything from Rock musicals to Rock Masses over the years.
The archetype of all these...victims... was Fred Pilcher. Fred was conscripted at a tender age of 18 into Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, Ron's first Folk project with his brothers. Ron apparently found 'Fuzzy Fred' at the Corn Exchange, the venue for PACT Folk in the late sixties and brought him home to teach Pat and Geoff to play guitar. Whether from shock or envy, I'm not sure which, Trevor went into a state of nervous collapse. He had never seen so much hair on one bloke in all his life. Fred is now a very conservative looking bureaucrat living in Canberra but, if the haircut eventually vanished, the friendship didn't. It lasted across the years not only with the boys but with their father too.
This email is from him
I know that I don't have to tell you how sorry I am (to hear of Ron's death). He was a huge part of my life, as you all were of course. He was truly a friend in need.
What a remarkable guy. Always the ultimate walking contradiction, impossible
to pin down, as complex as he was kind and compassionate. The sort of guy
for whom the expression "one of a kind" was invented.
After you contacted me last time to tell me he was in hospital , I called him and we had a
genuinely wonderful chat. At that time there was no telling which way it
would go but, as always, he was upbeat and full of fun.
From the little you were able to tell me about his last days, it sounds as if you gave him an entirely appropriate send-off. It would have tickled his funny bone
enormously, not to mention his irony bone, to have been there for what was effectively his own wake. Please remember me to Trevor and pass on my sorrow and my love to Claire and Ron's children.
I can't begin to imagine what a hole Ron's death leaves in the lives of Danny, Pat
Geoff and Steve. You five were a gestalt. I was, and will always be,
privileged to have been a part of that for a while. Thirty years doesn't mean
anything. We could be sitting around at your parents' place right now playing just
as we did all that time ago. For me, Ron will always be with us there. Those
years remain frozen in time for me.
But "time and other thieves" takes one of us away. Only the first. Wasn't
Paul Simon perceptive when he wrote "how terribly strange to be seventy"?
I want to close by telling you that a very close and dear friend of mine also died a few months ago. She would have been sixteen on 11th September and, like Ron, she was phenomenally talented and complex. I tell you that because perhaps it reminds us that Ron was lucky to have lived such a rich and full life, though we should have expected to share it with him for perhaps another twenty years.
I'm so glad that my name came up occasionally in your conversations. Thanks for
remembering me guys. Thanks for being with Ron when I couldn't be and for all
the love I know you showed him. He was a lucky man.
Fred's right...but we were lucky too.... to have shared our lives with Ron.
Ron's Eulogy 4 - Meghan
Oscar Wilde, one of Ron's many favourite authors once said that " in the end we love our friends not in spite of the eccentricities but in fact because of them."
Ron had the funniest quirkiest sense of humour many of us had ever come across. Intelligent and complex he was very often the only one who really understood some of his more convoluted jokes, That was a fact that would have embarrassed a lot of people but not Ron. It only served to amuse him more.
He was a great fan of the Goons and that comic tradition of educated silliness. He was never afraid to play the fool for our entertainment and yet.... he was no fool.
Whether he was 'kitching' it up in White sports Coat and a Pink carnation, delivering the Noni Song in his 'Bananas in Pyjamas' T-shirt or striding the stage as Mister Trough in SKooldays some part of him always remained a detached and amused observer. He was always curious about what made people laugh and cry; about what it was that made them human. His impact on an audience was lasting
I just want to give you idea of that by reading two of the many tributes that have come from fans.
Firstly from Andrew Introna
I was saddened to hear of the loss of Ron. He features larger than life in a couple of my memories that go back a long way. I think the date was September 11 1987 crammed into the front bar at the Rest Hotel when Ron stepped onto the tiny stage for one of his routines, the roar of appreciation from the hundreds of people present was a physical barrage of cheering and applause.
A couple of years later at a gig at the Collector Tavern during an intermission Ron took the time to have a chat with a couple of nerdy blokes (me and my mate). His genuine openness and willingness to share a yarn with us showed a depth of character not often seen these days.
During this difficult time my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family
And this one from Moz Fowler, a Journeys End regular from the late seventies.
We are very sad to hear of your loss.
I have many happy memories of Ron during the old 'Journey's End' days.
Ron's unique ability to accompany the musical brothers on the finely tuned cider flagon (while clapping his feet) was legendary. Of course his performance was enhanced by the fact that he always insisted on emptying, (he called it tuning) his own flagon. Perhaps our ability to keep pace with his 'tuning' increased our appreciation of his performance.
Ron will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Please accept our sincere condolences on your sad loss.
The Fowler Family Moz, Jackie, Samantha & Bronson
The world can scarce afford to lose those who make us laugh and it is doubtlessly a much sadder place this morning.
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