Farewell to a councillor and a friend
CHUNKS of wood held up the timber windows, and an elbow edged its way outside as overhead fans churned through the heat of another perfect summer day in Evans Head.
The mourners inside the timber St David's Presbyterian Church celebrated the life of one of their own, Councillor Ray Jeffery.
'Ray was my friend' was the common thread. If you knew him, then he was a friend.
But it was the comment 'good on you Ray Jeffery' from his younger brother, John, that said it for all.
Killed in a road crash just before Christmas that also took the life of another well-known Evans Heads man, Cr Jeffery may have been short in stature, but made up for it as a man whose big heart, integrity, upfront honesty and battles for the people in his community made him a popular and respected figure whose tenaciousness was not easily dismissed.
It was clear that since arriving on the Northern Rivers in 1989, Cr Jeffery embraced the region and made himself a big part of it.
Most telling was his coffin, draped in the Australian flag and the Aboriginal red, yellow and black, topped by his sailors cap from his stint in National Service.
Cr Jeffery was not being remembered for a man who died as an elderly citizen at 75, but for the man with an ongoing vitality, zest for living, and a love for community life, family, and his soul mate and partner, Barbara.
With three marquees pitched on the church lawn to accommodate the mourners, Mrs Jeffery said: “I was proud to stand side-by-side the love of my life.”
As the person who perhaps knew him best, she acknowledged him as the 'people person' he was in his strong community endeavours.
Daughter Nicole Turner noted her dad's thriftiness and love for food, how evening left-overs could not be thrown out but saved for an unlikely breakfast the next day.
Ms Turner said Cr Jeffery was known to be passionate about exercise.
A guard-of-honour was formed by his under-14 cricket team and members of the RSL Evans Head sub-branch.
The family of the other man killed in last week's crash has asked for privacy.
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