Former councillor and coach honoured at funeral service
FAMILY and friends yesterday celebrated the life of a father, grandfather, friend, joker and former Lismore City councillor Kenneth Gallen at Lismore Memorial Gardens.
Mr Gallen died on Monday at Lismore Base Hospital following a long battle with illness.
From 1993 until 2004, when he retired, Mr Gallen served as a Lismore City councillor.
He also coached Lismore City to many victories in rugby union.
His eldest son Kenneth said his father's first passion, fast cars, developed when he became a mechanic and went on to race Austin Healey Sprites.
Mr Gallen's other two passions in life, other than his family, were travel and the former North Sydney Bears NRL team.
"Thanks for being a great father, grandfather and a great person, but most of all thanks for being my best mate," his son said.
"They say rugby is the game they play in heaven, please save me a position."
Granddaughters Sarah and Olivia told of a doting "pop" who loved travelling in his motorhome and sending his grandchildren postcards.
"I am not going to say goodbye because you are never gone, but forever in our hearts," Olivia said.
As Carole King's You've Got a Friend played, thoughts of family and friends turned to memories of a great man.
Close friend and former Lismore City councillor of 17 years Frank Swientek shared some of the great experiences and times he and Mr Gallen enjoyed.
"He cared for his family, the city he lived in and worked hard as a taxi driver in town," he said.
"He was one of the longest serving councillors and had a very distinguished career."
Lismore City Council deputy mayor Neil Marks said it was always sad when somebody who did so many good deeds for the community died.
"I hope the community of Lismore remembers the good work Ken did for the city during his time in council," he said.
Mr Gallen is survived by his children Kenneth, Faye, Paul, Kara and Rhys, his eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
His coffin was carried away to the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.