This is Joe's son, Greg.
We lost my dad yesterday.
He was the wisest and kindest man I know.
He taught me about the essentials of life - jazz, cricket, literature - and, most importantly, he taught me the value of being myself.
He was a life-long educator; a primary school teacher who worked with indigenous and rural communities before moving to Melbourne and spending 30 years sharing his love of learning with generations of children.
When I left Australia over a decade ago to work overseas, he promised he’d write. And he did. Every couple of weeks I’d receive a handwritten letter addressed to whichever theatre I was working at or house I was living in, accompanied by cuttings from the newspaper he thought I’d find interesting. I received his last one only 10 days ago.
Typically of dad, his last few days were spent laughing and joking. Even when slipping in and out of consciousness, when he revived it was with a song on his lips.
He had a very quick mind, exceeded only by the extent to which he cared for people. He would often remind me that it was our duty to make the world the better place in all the ways we can, and he certainly led by example.
Perhaps it was because he stayed at home with my sister and I while supporting my mum in her career, perhaps it was because we bonded easily over our shared interests, perhaps it was the way he would always make sure there was a beer in the fridge for when my friends would drop in unannounced - I’ve always known that when he left it would be the most difficult of times.
They say that a boy becomes a man when he realises that his father isn’t infallible. I think that’s why I haven’t grown up.
This is Arvon Dusting (nee Eldridge), David's older cousin. I have fond memories of visits to Dimboola when I lived in Murtoa (from 1951 - 1956); in my innocence, I regarded Dim as a real metropolis compared to Murtoa and with a lot more life for young ones. There was always fun at Anderson Street with Uncle George, Auntie Kath, Ian and David (as he was known then in the family). There was, unfortunately, a considerable gap in our contact as we grew older and our paths, due to the gap in our ages, took us in different directions. However, when we were all living in Melbourne, David made contact and we had occasional phone calls and catch-ups, which were enjoyable, and there were always Christmas cards (and news) exchanged. In time, these centred around our careers and families; he was a very loving father, which I could relate to having two children of my own. Like David, I was a dedicated teacher for many years, so we had many similar interests.
I will always regret that we were not able to maintain regular contact over the years, and as adults we met only at family funerals. I read your tribute with great interest, Greg, and learned so much more about David's life, and I realise just how much I missed out on. He was indeed a father to be proud of and one who contributed so much to his community - he certainly lived life to the full, and will be sadly missed by many.
Please accept my sincere condolences for the passing of Joe.
We were mates and students at Dimboola Memorial High School. Joe's mother was a beautiful person and my Sunday School teacher. His older brother was a friend also. My last contact was in 1982 with two of his friends who were his teacher college colleagues.
I too was a Primary School teacher.
As lads he would often visit me at my sleep-out and we would listen to old 78 records of Graeme Bell and his Dixieland Jazz Band and Louis Armstrong and other jazz music.
I played the trumpet and he tried!!!
Your tribute in the Sun summed him up beautifully.