Merimbula mourns a colleague's death

About 600 people gathered for a memorial service for Merimbula pharmacist, David Dodd, filling the Wolumla Clavering Park Crematorium and spilling out onto the surrounding garden area.

Many businesses in Merimbula closed for the duration of the service on Monday, August 12, as a mark of respect to a man that was not only a business colleague but a friend to many.

David, 52, had died after being hit by a car in Hunter’s Hill, Sydney in the early hours of Sunday morning, August 4. He had been at a St Joseph’s College reunion at the Hunters Hill Hotel and while he was walking back to his mother’s home the tragic accident occurred.

In the days following the accident, many customers and friends went to the pharmacy to offer their condolences and also to write in a book of remembrance.

People came from all over the local area. David was well-known in Merimbula through his work as a pharmacist but also in Tathra where he and his wife, Linda and three children, lived. He volunteered his time and services within the community and enjoyed playing in both the ‘Golden Oldies’ and ‘Blue Veins’ rugby teams.

Mourners were greeted by row upon row of cars as they approached Clavering Park. Paul Pincini, of Merimbula Bus Service, had arranged a bus to take those who were not able to drive to the service.

At 20 minutes prior to the start of the service, the chapel was full  with a large gathering of mourners standing outside and even though it started raining during the service, almost everyone stood their ground.

There was a reading by Debbie Morgan, ‘Death is nothing at all’ by Henry Scott Holland followed by reflections from two of David’s brothers Michael and Chris Dodd. Kylie Gray sang  ‘When you say nothing at all’ but the terrible sadness of the day was also mixed with laughter as Seeto and Dodd staff members recalled David’s delight in finding any excuse for a celebration which required everyone to enjoy some cake.

‘Irish Blessing’ was read by Ron McCartney and there were readings from St Joseph’s College where a memorial service with 800 people in attendance, was held on Friday, August 9.

Staff from Seeto and Dodd wore their uniforms and many of David’s fellow rugby players from the ‘Blue Veins’ attended wearing their bright pink rugby jerseys.

People at the service spoke of the beautiful tribute to a well-respected man.

President of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce, Natalie Godward, said: “It was just beautiful and there was not a dry eye in the house and not a person who didn’t also laugh at some of the stories. I felt very much part of a community that needed to say goodbye to someone so important to us all.”

In an echo of tears and laughter that were so much a part of the service, David’s wife, Linda stood up saying that she always had to have the last word. She said that lots of customers and friends had cried on her shoulder and she had found some comfort in comforting them.

Despite the sadness everyone was urged to remember David as ‘Doddy’ the fun loving man who loved his family and friends. In her own eulogy Linda said: “I know he has left an impression on you all, and I ask that as sad as it might be, please remember him laughing and share your stories of him with me and the kids. Think of him when you see a ghastly Hawaiian shirt, or hear hillbilly music, watch a game of rugby or hear Moondance on the radio, as you drink a beer or you hear a big belly laugh. Please remember him larger than life, and as the love of my life.”

A private cremation was held after the memorial service after which  mourners joined David’s family at the Tathra Beach Country Club, Tathra.

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