Last Thursday, a truly beautiful man, named Allan Geyer, died peacefully. In the few years I have known him, his generosity and constancy have marked him out from the crowd as a quiet achiever, a steady rock. I wrote about Allan in one of my first posts, on my first visit to his house in Port Augusta. Since then I have visited many times, mostly to pick up the jars of homemade jam or other delights he would prepare. He would show me the lizards in the back garden and the photos of his grandchildren. He was also a regular visitor to our place, to prune the grape vines or do odd jobs around the back yard. He lived fully in the years after his wife’s death and seemed to conquer the natural loneliness by going out to others. He organised the ‘Red Suitcase’ project, to send heaps of clothes and necessities to disadvantaged people in Tanzania. What started out as a simple idea to fill a suitcase turned into a big collaboration between school students, priests, friends and families. He also organised the mounting of the heavy statue of St Joseph in our church. When it arrived it came across the seas no problem, but the most difficult challenge was to get it the last few metres from the foyer to the stand at the front of the church. Allan prepped and directed a team of men, with a chorus of onlookers, to transport the statue and raise it using pallets, finally sliding it up to the stand.

But what I will most remember Allan for is his passion for making rosary beads. One day last year he asked me to come around to his place so that he could teach me the art. It was fine, delicate work, needing attention to detail and patience. Each set took about 2-3 hours to make and he went through the intricacies with me, hoping to transfer this skill of his before it was too late. I took this photo on that occasion. ImageHe kept giving me more beads and equipment in the months that followed, encouraging me to teach others when I went away. So in May I went to work at the Curtin Detention Centre and took along the rosary-making equipment in the off chance that I might be able to do some there. Well, after some time organising to get the implements through security and a suitable venue, and waiting fruitlessly for a week before anyone showed up, finally we started making the beads with 2 interested men. The idea took off and some days we had too many people for the equipment available! We made about 5 or 6 sets while I was there and I left the equipment for the next pastoral workers. I have heard from them that the classes are still going and they wanted more beads. Partway during my time, one man who really loved making the rosaries, left the centre on a bridging visa. At the airport, we proudly took this picture of him with his homemade beads. I said I would give the picture to Allan. Well, Allan never got the picture, as he had left Port Augusta to visit his family and died while with them. But I sent the picture with some equipment and beads so that the man can continue employing his new skill. A cropped version of the picture is below. The rosary-maker was wearing all white that day, so we had to display his beads against his friend’s black top.

ImageAllan’s funeral is on Friday. Rest in Peace, Allan, with your God. Your legacy lives on after you.