WARREN ROBERT CRESSEY
born 13th February 1963 died 5th September 1992 aged 29 of skin cancer
world is a better place because he was here."
"The world is a better place because he was here."
EULOGY spoken by Frank Johnson at Allambe Garden, Carrara, Gold Coast.
Cecile, John, Roger, Sussan, Tanna, members of Warren's extended family and friends are here this afternoon to remember, honour and farewell an enthusiastic young man, this very sad occasion, an occasion for mourning. It is also, however, an occasion for thanksgiving and joy. Thanksgiving that we had the privilege of knowing Warren in various ways and joy as we contemplate the very positive contributions of Warren's life to the lives of those who knew him and whom he helped and influenced. His was a very positive influence in so many different ways to so many members of his family and large circle of friends.
This afternoon's service has a number of purposes. One purpose is to help Warren's family and we, his friends, to come to terms with the loss of this young man. Another purpose is to enable us, his friends, to offer support to his fiancee and other members of his family and to reminisce with them as they and we think about Warren's life. We can help them and ourselves by sharing our thoughts at this time, particularly our positive thoughts and recollections.
John, I am honoured that you have asked me to speak here this afternoon. I am acutely aware that it is less than 12 months since we met in this way after you lost Peter. With humility I accept the responsibility of trying to convey on your behalf the thoughts of yourself, Cecile, Tanna and Roger and his family to everybody here. I shall also try to extend to you, the comforting, supportive and consoling thoughts and feelings of Warren's and your relatives and friends.
Warren was born in Southport Hospital on 13th February, 1963. He was educated in Southport including Labrador Kindergarten, Labrador State School and The Southport School (TSS). He attended the Queensland University of Technology where he obtained the Diploma of Business Administration, achieving this qualification while he was suffering from cancer.
Warren was an enthusiastic young man with a zest for life which he indulged in many spheres. He was a competitor but enjoyed sport even if not winning.
He played football and cricket at TSS with great enjoyment and enthusiasm
and was captain ofthe 13B cricket team in grade eight. In his final
year at TSS he was commodore of the TSS Coast Guard.
Boating and fishing played a large part in Warren's life. He commenced his boating life on "Suntime" in 1964 when he was just under two years of age. Later he joined the Southport Yacht Club Sailing Squadron and sailed Northbridge Juniors. With his family he competed in predicted log events in both "Talisman" and "Arribar" over many years. It was Warren who selected the name "Arribar". I think the inspiration came from a TV cartoon current at the time.
Soon after the Cresseys acquired "Arribar" they had to tow two dinghys because Warren with his big brothers Roger and Peter and Bradley Job had to have a dinghy of their own in order that Warren's parents were not stranded on "Arribar" without access via dinghy to other boats or the shore. When "Ogee" [the Johnson's cruiser] acquired a tender with a 6 h.p. motor instead of a Seagull, which was longer than Warren's boat (an 8ft.pram) Warren found his superiority over Margy Johnson [Frank's daugther] threatened. His parents knew no peace until they provided him with a slightly bigger dinghy with a slightly more powerful motor. He was able to propel this craft across the surface of Moreton Bay in all sorts of weathers with the propeller and 2 inches of the hull in the water 90% of the time and airborne the rest of the time. He could steer accurately with only occasional glimpses of the way ahead which was usually obscured by the floor of the dinghy. His approach, even at the subsonic speed at which he traveled, was audible as an undulating roar for many minutes before he became visible as a speck of spray on the horizon.
In later years, even when he was battling melanoma, he sailed with "Woe be Tide" as forward hand both summer and winter and in the twilight series. He became proficient on the bar at the seaway in anything from a 12 ft. dinghy to "Arribar" and loved fishing outside. He spent countless hours cruising the channels of southern Moreton Bay in his 10 ft dinghy and 9.9 h.p. Evinrude much to the consternation of the fish and crabs.
He trained with the Surfers Paradise Outrigger Canoe Club and contributed to that club in very many ways. He was skipper of the pickup boat and went with the Club to Hamilton Island and to Honolulu in 1990, again while he had cancer. Skippering of the pickup boat required a very high level of skill as it involved changing canoe crews in the water rapidly and efficiently in all kinds of conditions.
Last Sunday the club held a regatta in Surfers Paradise. This regatta had been dedicated to Warren to acknowledge his contribution to the club. The first page of the official regatta programme carried a picture of Warren with a wide smile holding a couple of very fine fish he had caught. The regatta which had already been dedicated to him was held the day after he died. Roger visited the regatta and he and the rest of Warren's family were deeply moved to find that the competitors were wearing black armbands and that a perpetual trophy in Warren's name had been established for a new event which is to become an annual event.
More of this enthusiastic young man's boating exploits in a few minutes.
This enthusiastic man had many friends, some dating right back to his early school days. All of these friends have stuck with him through his battle and have been staunchly supportive. Everybody who knew Warren liked him just as everybody who knew his elder brother, Peter, liked him. He made friends in school, work, sport, boating and university. They were true friends who have never let him down and for this his family is very grateful.
Warren was much loved by his immediate family, his aunts and uncles, his nephew and niece and his pseudo aunts and uncles. Eleanor and I are proud to be treated as his aunt and uncle and our daughters are proud to be treated as his sisters.
An immensely significant milestone in Warren's life was the arrival from Denmark last September of Tanna Kjaer. They genuinely fell in love and they had great hopes for the future as Warren appeared to be winning his battle against cancer at that time. The family knows that Warren loved her more than anything else and she returned that love. She is a lovely lady with huge inner resources. She has a great capacity for loyalty and devotion. For over a month, during Warren's final admission to hospital she was with him almost 24 hours a day leaving his side only for brief periods when prevailed upon by Cecile or John. During that period she slept on a mattress on the floor in his hospital room to be by his side. Tanna, we cannot imagine the depths of grief and despair which you must feel at this time. you must be comforted to some extent by knowing that you made Warren's last year so much happier and satisfying and that your unflinching support sustained him throughout his final terrible ordeal. I am convinced that he would not have been able to bear it without your being there.
I also know that you have been a great source of strength to Warren's mother and father. Without your calm, strong support, their burden could well have been intolerable. You have a very special place in their hearts and minds and I know that this bond that has been forged between you and then will sustain you during the difficult period of adjustment which lies ahead. I have already observed the concern they feel for your welfare and your concern for theirs.
We offer you our consolation and share your grief even though we can only begin to comprehend the degree of your suffering at this time. you have earned the love of Warren's family and friends and we freely offer this to you in the hope that it will sustain you during the sorrowful, bleak time ahead as you come to terms with your loss. We know you have the strength and spirit to adjust and go on living even though it may seem pointless at present. We offer you our loving support.
As I mentioned before, Warren had many friends and loved a party. His friends will have many memories of Warren, Robert and company at their fancy dress parties. He was one of the members of the "Bad Boys Businessmen's Club" - a closely knit company of young men with strong bonds. They awarded him their annual "Businessman of the Year" award last year.
I felt it was appropriate, on this occasion, to invite just a few of Roger's close friends to contribute their thoughts about Warren. I told them I was looking for insight into aspects of Warren's life of which I would be unaware. I also thought it was important to look at his life from the perspective of his own generation. These tributes provide such an important contribution to the understanding of the breadth and depth of Warren's influence and into his character that I feel it is appropriate to share them with you.
Roger, his brother, writes
Similarly as we grew up and enjoyed the boating pleasures, I introduced Warren to the interesting concept of being able to project small aluminium dinghies out of the water and momentarily into the air. I thought I was wild. Warren grew to show me new achievable "heights". Warren and I lived together for short periods in Brisbane during his QIT days. We shared many good times, mostly parties. We both seemed to know how to have a very good time then. I must continue to do so in the future. When Sussan and I were married, almost 6 years ago, Warren already knew that he had some sort of problem with a malignant mole. He did not advise me of this problem until well after we were married. Warren always maintained an extremely strong attitude and personal commitment to try and beat this cancer. His perseverance has been greater than anyone could have expected. In the face of the most extreme adversity, Warren proved his strength of character to us all. He had guts!
Warren regarded Robert Pirie as his best friend. Robert says
As he got older and bigger so did the boats. From 6 h.p. and tinnies to 200 h.p. and 18 ft race boats, before he knew it he was behind the wheel of our first race boat "The Apprentice", driver: Warren Cressey, observer: David Thatcher, skier: Robert Pirie, skier: Mark Napier. Although we didn't win a lot of races, we definitely had more fun than everyone else.
From this Warren got his Launch Masters Certificate and became a professional water ski instructor, a title he wore well, a title his mother was more happy with (instead of race boat driver).
Warren also developed a taste for log racing following in his father's footsteps, something a lot of people wished he hadn't because of his obvious skill of reading the water. Power boats was not Warren's only forte. He raced 125's at school Warren on the helm, myself on the trapeze. We ran a place every race and had a crash every race. With Warren's seamanship it was never hard for him to get a seat in a crew. Before long he was fore deck in the 4 x Offshore Series, again taking major and minor places in many races., He was also a deckhand on a million dollar game fishing boat.
Warren's sportsmanship and team camaraderie were well loved amongst the team. This also showed at his work. Warren's personality and enjoyment of life was passed on to every customer he talked to. Warren's laughter will well be remembered at Pirie Enterprises. His ability to defuse situations and turn an unhappy client into a happy one was outstanding, people simply loved him. Warren quickly became known to our main suppliers and resellers as an efficient jovial worker. The guy with the laugh they would ask for. Warren was in the mainstream of the business and his lifeblood flowed through the whole company. He got on so well with his co-workers which made his job of delegating work so much easier.
People like Warren are hard to find, his three years influence on the
company will last for many, many years. A person like Warren cannot
He radiated his happiness and joy in living on to others and it was impossible not to share his happiness when you were with him.
He was very intelligent and also, importantly, his intelligence was
tempered with wisdom. He could pay a compliment with such sincerity
of feeling that the person who received it would remember it well for
a long time afterwards.
We can see that although Warren has left us, his memory and his influence live on. The world is a better place because he was here. His influence will continue to live in the future. Now we have to look to the future and adjust to life without him. This is going to be particularly difficult for his parents and Tanna.
At this stage I must pay particular tribute to you Cecile and John. We have heard about Warren's fine qualities and his courage and we know that a lot of that has come from you by inheritance, teaching and example. You have been very closely involved on a day to day basis with Warren in the last few years and this has become more intense in the past few months. We have immense admiration for your courage and would like to do whatever we can to assist you through the difficult times ahead. There will be a big gap in your lives. We must try to overcome our feelings of awkwardness and reticence and communicate with you and keep in touch with you and afford practical and moral support in the months ahead. Warren was one of your very successful achievements. You can be proud of your contribution to the achievements of Warren - the enthusiastic young man.