My son Craig – 20 years ago today.
Craig Geoffrey Dempster 14.07.1977 – 02.11.1995
Craig was my middle child, between older brother Steven, and younger sister Lisa. Today is the 20th anniversary of Craig’s death. A beautiful life that was taken much, much too soon. I have written previously about Craig here and here .
I have a box of cards, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia connected with Craig’s death, which has never had the lid taken off since his funeral. I thought the 20th anniversary an appropriate time to peep in there. There were many memories in that box including funeral information which I haven’t given much though to, since that day.
Following is the eulogy which was written and read by family friend, Graham Smout. It reflects much about who Craig was.
In 1978, Craig was one year old, when I started working for his parents, John and Jenny. I went on to do my apprenticeship and spent some ten years working as a mechanic for their business. During this time, I had the pleasure of watching Steven and Craig and Lisa grow up. Today I would like to share with you just a few points of Craig’s life.
In Craig’s pre-school days, his mother, Jenny used to bring him to the workshop for short periods while she worked in the office. Craig was always curious at what was happening in the workshop, and regularly ventured out amongst the cars and staff. In 1980, when Craig was about three and a half, he was sitting in a Saab which was being repaired, pretending to drive it. Later the same day when the repairs were almost complete, it was found that the key was missing from the ignition. It was believed that Craig was playing hide and seek with the key. The car and workshop were searched many times, but the key was nowhere to be found. Craig was asked where he had put the key, but would not or could not say. To make things worse, the owner of the car could not be contacted or was not in possession of another key.
It was decided to remove the ignition, and take it to the locksmith to have another key made. Because this particular Saab had the ignition built into the console, a large portion of the interior of the car was dismantled to get it out. But it didn’t finish there. The locksmith was unable to dismantle the lock to cut a key, so he suggested that we remove a door lock from the car and have a key cut from that. Short of taking the door off the car, we dismantled it, and removed the lock and had a key cut. The car was put back together and the customer was happy.
Ten years later in 1990, when the business shifted from Mitchell Street to Mercury Drive, the original key was found behind a cupboard in the office. If Craig was playing hide and seek, he definitely won that day.
In 1983, Craig started school, attending Bourchier Street Primary School. He completed years prep to grade 5, before transferring to Orrvale Primary School, completing years five and six.
In 1991, Craig started secondary school at Shepparton High School, attending years seven to ten. He then went on to Notre Dame College.
Craig did not like school. He was more interested in getting out of the classroom and pursuing the things that he loved to do so much.
During his school years, he regularly came to the workshop after school, and helped all staff by doing small jobs. Whether it was cleaning parts, emptying a bin or sweeping up, he was usually willing to help. I also reember him as a person who loved to make his own fun. In the summer months, he would join in on the occasional water fight. Some of which he started, while his father was out road testing a car.
During Craig’s secondary days, he developed a keen interest in push bikes. He used to buy old bikes, and do them up, as well as buy and sell bike parts. He also liked to experiment by swapping wheels in various combinations from his brother’s sister’s and parent’s bikes. Much to their surprise when they came to ride their bike! He purchased many bike magazines, which fuelled his interest into a passion for the different combinations of colour and design. After school, his first stop would be the powder coating section of his parent’s business to see if any bikes had been brought in and what colour combinations their owners had chosen.
In May last year, Craig started his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic with the family business. His interests then moved to cars and motorbikes. Craig loved working on cars, including his own, and enjoyed all aspects of the hands on mechanical work. However, just like his school years, Craig didn’t enjoy going to trade school during his block release. He much preferred the more satisfying workshop work than the classroom. work. Craig made many friends throughout his school years and continued to do so, while persueing his career.
Throughout Craig’s life, he has touched the hearts of many people as he has grown up. Reading through the tributes in the newspapers, family, friends, workmates and loved ones all speak of his smiling face, loving nature, great friendships and fun times. These all reflect Craig’s good, kind, pleasant nature that we have all seen, and the love for his special friend Fiona Ellis. He will be sadly missed by all of us.