10 January 1946 to 9 September 2017
A face that would light up with a warm and welcoming smile. That's how many people remember Robert Evans.
Robert was born in the year following the end of the Second World War (which is another way of saying he was born in 1946). It was the end of the war; there was a lot of celebrating going on; and a lot of babies being made! Robert was part of the Baby Boomer generation.
Born in Camden (NSW), for the first four years of his life he lived in the nearby town of Menangle, where his mother and her brothers ran the General Store.
At four years of age the family decided to sell up, move to the country and take up farming. They scoured the countryside for somewhere suitable and landed upon a grazing property at Grabben Gullen ("Bertalba") where they ran sheep and cattle, and grew potatoes.
Robert lived with his parents (Bill and Beryl) and sister (Helen) out at the farm, along with his uncles (who used to commute each week from their family homes in the Sydney region). He attended primary school in Crookwell and spent his high school years in Canberra as a boarder at Canberra Grammar School. Robert was pretty handy at sport, representing the school in tennis, First XV in rugby and captaining the First V basketball team. At the end of high school he was accepted into teachers college in Wagga. However, shortly after moving down to Wagga there came a call from out at the farm - "we need some more arms and legs back here!" So Robert's destiny was set - he became a farmer. And it was more than just a job; it was his life.
Along the way he had some significant life events. He got married (to Pam Seaman). He had children (Guy and Peter). And his children had their own children (grandsons - Lachlan (14), Joshua (12), Oliver (10) and Hugo (8)).
In a rather cruel twist of fate, Robert passed away just seven days short of celebrating his and Pam's 50th wedding anniversary.
Resilience is a word that comes to mind when thinking of Robert. He fought a brave and courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease over a very long period of time. He spent 25 years living with this debilitating illness; but his stoic resilience shone through the darkness of the disease. He picked himself up every morning and looked himself in the mirror, knowing there was no cure and knowing that with each passing day he would no longer be able to do what he used to do. But he didn't wallow in self-pity. He didn't project his emotional turmoil onto those around him. And he didn't lash out in frustration at those close to him. He handled a very difficult situation with grace and dignity – a true mark of his character.
And while Robert needed care and support in his later years, throughout a large part of his life he provided care and support to others' in need. He had a very strong sense of community and was actively involved in many community service and sporting organisations. He played football, basketball, tennis and squash; and in his later years found real enjoyment in bowls (both from a social and a competitive perspective). Robert held committee member roles in many organisations, including the Grabben Gullen Bush Fire Brigade, Grabben Gullen Tennis Club, and the local Anglican Parish Council. He was awarded Life Membership with Apex – a wonderful community service organisation that was the source of many great friendships. Robert served on the Board of Directors of the Crookwell District Hospital, and also on the Board of Directors of the local aged care facility (formerly known as Bandfield House, but now known as View Haven Lodge). And isn't it ironic how the circle of life takes you from initially being a provider of support and assistance to others, to finally becoming a recipient yourself.
Robert passed away in the early hours of Saturday, September 9, 2017 with his family by his side.
He will be remembered as a really decent, salt-of-the-earth, human being. And for that wonderful warm smile that would light up his face and make you feel better for having spent that moment with him.