Con a big-hearted rock for many
“HE was always a constant in our lives: a rock, a surety.”
David Sams gave the eulogy at his grandfather Con (Cornelius) Asmussen’s funeral at Ballina yesterday.
St Francis Xavier Catholic Church was packed with family, friends and members of the surf lifesaving movement.
Mr Asmussen had been involved with surf lifesaving since 1939.
During the years he was awarded many honours for his work in the movement, including an MBE in 1972 and induction into the Surf Life Saving Australia Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was a life member of six clubs and branches, including his most recent club, the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club, with which he was actively involved.
Mr Asmussen died on June 25, aged 96.
The presidents of Surf Life Saving Australia and Surf Life Saving NSW were at yesterday’s service with representatives also from clubs throughout Australia.
“We thought the next time that we would all be gathered together like this would be at Con’s 100th birthday,” Mr Sams told mourners.
“Con had a strong sense of the need for fairness and equality.
“Surf lifesaving was one of his great passions.
“His proudest moment as a surf lifesaver, without a doubt, was when he brought back to life a young girl who had drowned at Stanwell Park.”
Mr Sams also spoke of his grandfather’s “infectious curiosity” and his “strength, personality, intellect and big heart”.
Father Michael Nilon said Mr Asmussen was a dedicated man who lived a long and full life.
“Everyone who knew Con knew that he was a great conversationalist, a great story-teller,” he said.
“In whatever way you knew Con, I am sure that you feel very proud to have known him.”
Surf life saving club members formed a guard of honour as Mr Asmussen’s coffin was taken out of the church.
His wife, Pat, said she was proud that so many people had paid their last respects to her husband.