Farewell Bangalows man
By Hannah Ross email@example.com WHEN Frank Scarrabelotti's daughter Mary moved to Darwin 30 years ago, she kept thinking every visit to her dad would be the last. For 10 years she made her mental goodbyes, until her husband pointed out that Mr Scarrabelotti looked like he might live forever. Indeed, in human terms, Mr Scarrabelotti did live for ever. The former dairy farmer and respected member of the Bangalow community was 109 when he passed away in his sleep early on Tuesday morning. Yesterday Mr Scarrabelotti's family, including his wife Nell and daughters Mary Bartlett and Helen Markwick, members of the Bangalow community and his congregation said their final farewells at his funeral at St Kevin's Catholic Church, Bangalow. Close to 300 people attended the service, which opened to the strains of Bette Midler's song The Rose, a fitting tribute to a man whose rose garden outside his Granuaille Road home was his great pride. Mr Scarrabelotti chose the hymns for his own service, according to his nephew Pat Malone. Included in the selection was Here I am Lord, which reflected Mr Scarrabelotti's strong faith and the manner of his passing: "I have heard you calling in the night, I will go, Lord, if you lead me." Parish priest Fr Aub Edwards spoke of the lessons Mr Scarrabelotti's life could give us, setting off laughter in the church when he recounted the tale of the parishioner who crashed into a pole after seeing a 100-year-old Frank leaping over his low garden fence instead of using the gate. "After he turned 100, still clear of mind, sight and speech, people would ask him, 'what's your big secret?' Frank spoke of the four 'Fs': Faith, family, friends and food. He was level-headed with that last item and had his head in the clouds with God," Fr Edwards said. Mr Scarrabelotti played violin at the wedding of Ron Donaghy's parents 75 years ago. Yesterday Mr Donaghy said the service was a true reflection of Mr Scarrabelotti's life. "He was just a great bloke, a leader and a perfectionist. "He did everything for the good of this district." Hugh Gallagher was 16 when he met Mr Scarrabelotti and remembers regarding him then as 'an elderly gentleman', even though that was over 60 years ago and Frank was just 45. Bangalow resident Russell Blanch said the entire Catholic congregation at Bangalow knew never to interrupt Mr Scarrabelotti when he was having a yarn with his best mates Joe Buckley and Ron Miller on Sundays outside the church. "They were thick as thieves, always talking about cattle and rugby." Mr Scarrabelotti was remembered for his community work and involvement with anything to do with Bangalow, from the Billycart Derby to the local rugby club. "He was Mr Bangalow," said% Fr Edwards. x Mr Scarrabelotti was involved in the early days of the North Coast National and was a president of the North Coast Illawarra (cattle) Society. "During his presidency he pulled it all together. He was organised, diplomatic and he never got flustered," Mr Gallagher said. Mary said her dad was always gentle, a great advisor and a great companion. "I will just miss his presence, the interest he had in everything politics and the world. He was a gentleman, he was honourable. He would talk to anyone," Mary said. "People just loved and respected him." Mr Scarrabelotti meant a lot to people in Bangalow, even those who did not know him personally. With a life that spanned three centuries, he was a human link to the town's past. Mr Scarrabelotti was laid to rest at Bangalow cemetery beside his youngest daughter Clare, who died of leukaemia in 1963, aged just three.