PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ TYLER'S LIFE HISTORY, LISTEN TO THE MUSIC AND WATCH THE PHOTO MEMORIES.
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Funeral Service for Tyler Halsted
David Bull Chapel, Pakenham
Monday, 18 July 2022, 2pm
Before we start, can I ask that you turn off your mobile phones so that we can all be still, and remember the many special qualities of such an amazing man.
Please click the play button below to hear our Welcome music.
’Scotland the Brave’
What a beautiful tribute to begin today’s service. Tyler loved the sound of the pipes playing. For his 50th and for his 80th, the family organised for a piper to play and the look on his face was priceless. It was pure joy. Today we will pay tribute to Tyler’s heritage, his love of music, his love for his family, his friends and his love for life.
Good afternoon to you all. My name is Carly Maling, and I am honoured to be the celebrant here today as we reflect on the life of the very loved and respected Tyler Halsted. On behalf of his children, Ruth and their extended family, I welcome you and thank you sincerely for being here to support them and pay tribute to his life.
Tyler’s family are thankful for the love and support you have all shown during this time. They have appreciated the phone calls and offers of help received from both family and friends. Thank you so much to those of you who have traveled to be here, it’s a real testament to the amazing amount of love and respect you have for Tyler and his family.
I would also like to mention on behalf of the family- the Dialysis unit at Casey Hospital, Cranbourne, and Monash. And also, Tyler’s GP of 35 years, Dr Graham Down. Thank you for your continuous support and care.
I’m sure Tyler would not have wanted you to mourn in a sad, sorrowful way, but would want you to think of him and his cheeky smile and do the same when you say his name and remember all the happy times that you shared with him. Today it is OK to cry, and it is also OK to smile, and most importantly, it is ok to take this time to reminisce and be grateful. Please feel free to be comfortable with your sorrows, your grief, and your memories, but also feel the gladness, the happiness, the purpose, and the serenity of a life so well lived.
Ty was many things in his life,
He was a great friend.
He was a Princetonian- Part of the Princeton alumni.
He was part of the Holden family for decades.
He was a cultured traveler.
He was a history buff.
He always said yes if you needed him, no matter what.
He was cheeky, he was caring, he was loving and supportive. He had a wicked sense of humour; he was dry and naughty, but it was charming.
But, most importantly, he was a genuinely good man. A man who should be remembered for his fierce love of his family, and the role he played to them. For nothing gave him greater joy than the role he played to his family…. husband, partner, Father, Father-in-law, Grandfather
A cherished and devoted partner to Ruth.
A loved Father to his four children, Alan, Richie, Jen, and Rebecca.
A father-in-law to Simon, Troy and Hilary.
A father figure to Ruth’s girls – Alex, Tessa and Emma and their partners Tom, Steve, and Mark
A loved grandfather, to Zachary, Nicholas, William, Jasmine, Jeremy, Hayley, Kip and Darcy, Anabelle and Andy.
And a husband for 36 years to his late wife Margaret.
Nothing made him happier, and nothing bought him more joy than when he was surrounded by his family. And if it was happy hour and he had a Manhattan in his hand, he was in heaven!!
He lived vicariously through them, retelling stories of their lives to anyone that would listen. He was so proud.
I would like to take a moment now for everyone to think of their own special connection with Tyler, the man who perhaps was often the light in your day, the joy in your life, or the person who listened and offered you sage advice and suggestions.
Whilst you do this, I would like to invite Tyler’s extended family up to light a candle in his honour.
Tyler’s life began in the year of 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio and ended on the other side of the world, Monday the 11rd of July. Tyler passed away peacefully at his home in Pakenham Upper, surrounded by his loved ones at the age of 87.
Over the last decade or so Tyler has been traveling back and forth from hospitals and spending hours at home on kidney dialysis. His medical team were baffled when he kept on going through the years and encouraged him to continue doing whatever he was doing. He was happy he could still have his Manhattans on a Friday night. He has beaten all medical odds by defying the doctors who said his life would be over before he hit 80. But he set himself a goal of making it to his birthday and he did it with flying colours. He celebrated this momentous occasion with lunch, drinks, and a bagpiper at Jens home in Upper Pakenham, surrounded by family and friends. He kept on going for another 7 years. However, slowly during the past two years, his health gradually deteriorated, and over the past few months, he became ever more tired. His body had worked hard, for a long time. His family made sure that he was never alone, putting a rostering system in place to be there with him and support Ruth. His children came from interstate and spent weeks at a time. They enlisted the guidance and care of the Southeast Palliative care team, and they were always one step ahead, on the phone 24/7, ready to help at the click of a finger.
Tyler’s final days were spent with his family surrounding him, sharing, and laughing and giving him their loving care. They played him music to keep him comfortable, ordered him Indian take away, they sang and gathered.
This was his wish. Knowing that he got his wish and that he is at peace now can give you some comfort.
It is important that we don’t focus on the last difficult years, but that we remember Tyler for the man he was. He lived a life that was full of joy, laughter, and happiness. This is the life that we will remember and celebrate today.
Last week I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Jen, Richie, and Bec. They shared with me stories and memories of Tyler’s life, they gave me insight into the man he was and the life he led.
Tyler had also taken the time to write some of his history down. He named it “The Requiem”.
I would like to share parts of it with you in his words…
Ty was born to Henry and Katherine Halsted on the 4th of April 1935, in Cleveland Ohio. He was a surprise, to say the least, as there were already three Halsted siblings. At the time, Francis was 13, Henry (Wink) was 10 and John was 8. Some say Ty came three days too late and should’ve been born on April fools. It was towards the jazz age and the beginning of the swing era, it was in his DNA.
In 1935, the family moved east for Henry’s new job with General Motors overseas operations and they stayed there from 1935-1938, living in Englewood, New Jersey.
In the September of 1938, Ty and his parents set off from New York on the Queen Mary to London. They were stopping off in London to pick up a nanny on their way to Bombay, India where Henry was managing director of General Motors.
Young Tyler, the white Sahib’s son could get away with murder, all 14 servants had to obey this four-year-old, and boy did he take advantage of it.
In 1941 the family returned to New York and Tyler attended local private school until 1947, when he was sent to boarding school. He liked grade 8 so much, he repeated it. Apparently, Ty was big deal in his final year, head of student council, house captain and captain of the football team.
For years 10-12, Ty attended Deerfield Academy. Here he played a number of sports- football, swimming, la cross, track, but never did quite make it into the firsts, but he was a competent reserve.
You might ask, why did Ty pick Princeton when all family allegiances were with Williams College? Maybe the question should be – why did Princeton accept Ty?
He loved his time at Princeton, playing light weight football and graduating with a major in near eastern studies. As he graduated, the job prospects were slim and so he was drafted to the army in the September of 1957.
He became a clerk and wormed his way into a position managing the bookstore at the warfare school. These were good times for Ty, staying with his brother who lived in Washington.
In the summer of 1962, Ty met Margaret Riria Laird Baker on a blind date, and they were married. Margaret moved into the Englewood house. In 1964, along came their first-born son Alan, followed by Richard in 1966. Three years later and I’m sure the boys would’ve been happy to welcome baby girl Jennifer Ann. In 1974, the family became 6 and complete with the arrival of Rebecca.
Tyler began his working career with Morgan Guarantee Trust Bank as a trainee for 18 months. He loved it, but was unfortunately advised that he would never be a banker. In 1961 he got a job with General Motors Overseas Operations in NYC as a clerk. He gradually rose through the ranks and the job saw him traveling to all corners of the globe. He was told to advance further, he needed overseas experience. In 1976, Holden gave him a position and so off to Australia he went.
Jennifer took the time to finish the story of Tyler’s life, and I will share it with you in her words…
We arrived in Australia in 1977. Dad worked for Holden initially as the National Marketing Manager and then as the National Fleet Manager. He enjoyed many years managing the fleet sales of Holden cars to companies like Telstra, Budget, Thrifty and the Australian army. He did lots of travel around Australia and internationally to launch new vehicles to prospective fleets
Dad was meticulous in his office dress wear. Always a lovely suit, ironed shirt, cuff-links, tie clips and spectacularly shiny shoes. He was always clean shaven,even till the end, very rarely did I see him with any whiskers and never ever beard or moustache!
He celebrated many events with his family 18ths, 21sts, 50ths engagements and weddings at ‘Bambara’ the ‘mudbrick’ Harkaway property. He took great pride in putting on a great celebration with all the bells and whistles. Along with weddings came grandchildren. Jennifer and Malcolm were the first to have grandchildren. Zachary was born in 1996 and the question of what the grandchildren should call the grandparents arose. When Rebecca was 4, she asked what “mum” was in American. “Mom” was the response. And Dad? With a twinkle in his eye Dad said “Sir”. So, for the longest time Bec called Mum & Dad “Mom and “Sir”. When Zac was born, we remembered the story and came up with “Grandsir”. Whatever Zac came up with when he began to speak the name would stick. However, Zac came up with “Grandsir” as clear as a bell. The name stuck and Grandsir became what he was called by family, friends and his car registration GRN SIR.
Nicholas was born in 1997.
Grandsir retired in 1998 to care for Mum who had suffered from emphysema and other health issues for many years. Mum passed away a mere fortnight into his retirement which left Dad somewhat lost with what to do with his time.
Rebecca was married in 1999 to Simon and our South Australian family connection began. William was born in 2005 and Jasmine in 2007 – at last a granddaughter.
One night Dad was invited to a dinner party with long time family friends Bev and Chris Roberts. Dad came home from the party and said to Jennifer “There was this woman there. She comes from Point Lonsdale! She had 3 dogs in her car. And…. She was a vegetarian!” Well, he was smitten and a romance grew between Dad and Ruth and our family grew. A wedding in 2001 extended the family with the inclusion of Ruth’s lovely daughters and their families.
Alex, Emma and Tessa officially joined our family. Over the years there were more weddings and we welcomed their husbands, Steve, Mark, and Tom and with that more beloved grandchildren, Jeremy, Hailey, Kip, Anabelle and Andy.
We also welcomed Anna and Lizzie, Ruth’s Sisters who along with David, Anna’s husband, a great delight to Dad, with many lovely outings and joyous times spent together.
Dad was diagnosed with kidney issues in around 2005. Dialysis was predicted and inevitably began in 2011. Dad was very brave and noble and accepted the medical intervention. He began with the process at home which he did for 5 years before it became too onerous and hard on his body. Hemodialysis began in 2015 at the Cranbourne unit and then he moved to the Monash Casey unit.
He received much love and care over his 6 years there, and we will be eternally grateful for the support they gave us.
As Dad’s health deteriorated slowly over the years there were many hospital visits, but he always rose and returned with a vengeance, albeit a slight alteration to his treatment.
From the onset Manhattans have always been a part of our childhood and a favourable part of dad’s life. For the uneducated, a Manhattan (or at least Dad’s version) is a cocktail with 2 shots of whiskey and one shot of sweet vermouth over a lot of ice in an old-fashioned glass – and if lucky a maraschino cherry and of course to top it off, stirred with your finger. We learnt to make these from a very young age, the grandchildren learnt to dip their dummies in when they were together!
Dad introduced his version of Manhattans to anyone who would listen. Dialysis was not even discouraging to him. A fluid limit of 700ml meant that he would allow himself a Manhattan or two regularly in his daily tally.
For the last 10 years, he has enjoyed the wondrous company of Andrew Vogel and his beautiful family for Friday night happy hour. They loved sharing books and stories about history, politics, and anything in between.
Whilst dialysis became his life, he always had great interest in the world around him and his family. The importance of his newspapers – the age and the Australian of a Thursday and Saturday morning.
A love of sport, American Football, Australian Rules, Superyacht sailing and more recently UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
COVID brought further changes to the dialysis routine. Wearing of masks, only being able to drop him at the hospital door and not being able to help him settle into his session was a big change for us all.
More sleep and tiredness were becoming the norm and the support and love from the family continued. Alan would come to give Ruthie a break during school holidays and Jen, Zac and Nic were always on hand for support. And of course, Ruthie, Dad’s beloved, was always beautiful, kind, generous, gentle, and thoughtful of Dad’s every need.
At the end Dad had the support of the Halsted and Gibson clans and he passed peacefully with the love and care of his families surrounding him and with the amazing and dedicated support of palliative care staff to keep Dad calm and safe until the end.
I would like to invite son Alan up to share in a tribute to his father.
I was very lucky to have this man as my dad.
How do I talk about this man in front of you all without it being some maudlin thing or a twee homage? I looked at all sorts of scenarios and in the end I think he might be best summed up by listing some of his lovely quirks, the things that made him special and funny in my eyes.
He was a great sport dad. He was there for all of us and devoted his weekends to chasing us around our various games. Also an enthusiastic scout dad.
He loved his mowers and mowing lawns, especially the ride on ones. All of the properties we ever lived on seemed to have endless lawns. We did not really share his passion but we all mowed lawns! He may even have climbed aboard the beast one last time maybe a year ago.
Saturday morning shopping may have been his all time favorite thing. Supermarkets may possibly be his favorite place.
For someone in the car game all his life, not really a car guy! He liked a bit of supercar racing, but that was about it. However, an enthusiastic collector (real hoarder) of any and all Holden merchandise from the marketing dept. Camira towels still haunt our linen closets.
He loved cereal. Loved! But what he hated was unfinished boxes of cereal. His solution was to combine everything into one box and once finished then new stock comes in. We hated that! And who knew Kellogg would make it a thing. Curse you, Just Right.
He loved his footy. He still loved his American football and baseball, but Aussie Rules had his heart. However, this does not mean he had any loyalty to a particular team. He was keen on the Kangaroos because they were sponsored by Holden. He sure loved the company tickets! Then it was Hawthorn because his boss’s son was on the team. Then he had a new team pretty much every year, favouring the new foreign teams. He has quite a collection of footy scarves boldly advertising his footy fickleness!
As we all know, foxtel is terrible, but for a sports tragic like dad, it was catnip. Yes the usual sports were there but what was irresistible were the obscure sports. European athletics, rowing, horse events, frisbee, lacrosse, darts, a thousand different variations of pool/billiards, swimming, cycling, he would give them all a go.
He bailed us dumb boys out of countless misadventures. So so many of them. He even traveled to the US in the late 80’s to talk me out of getting married. That’s commitment!
He loved his Red Rider BB gun, a still working relic from his own childhood. Regularly we were gathered to watch one of his favorite movies, A Christmas Story, about a boy in the 40’s who got a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. A true Christmas miracle, well, if you are 10!
A couple of months ago my partner Hilary and her daughter put together a special violin duet performance for him, finishing with a 2 part harmony version of The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. He absolutely loved this and it was wonderful seeing him so lit up and delighted.
Andrew Vogel. Thank you so much, he absolutely loved every Friday night with you. He needed someone to discuss history and the state of the world, and this can only be done properly and soberly with a Manhattan or two. You were a truly wonderful friend to him!
Thank you Ruth, he deeply loved you, even if he drove you crazy! And I know you deeply loved and cared for him and for this I am forever grateful.
To finish, I just wanted to say how lucky I was, we all were in my family, to have been there at the end. Jen and Rebecca were already here but Rich and I made our mad dashes across the country, arriving maybe 6 hours before he left us. And here is the most profound gift we all were given. We were there for his last breath, that weightless moment of silence that enveloped us, drew us together, and nothing needed be said. I will carry this forever.
Invite Richie up to share a tribute.
Thanks Alan, such an eloquent and loving collection of fond memories, it brings tears to my eyes to sit in reflection on those younger times with Dad.
As I ponder how to put in words what a great, loving man our father was without recounting stories from those prior, I am silenced by the love and adoration for the man who stood as our beacon of strength, support and admiration during our years. I am filled with sorrow that I feel I never did truly impart how much he meant to me as words seem to be an inferior, weak option of expression when feelings can be so overpowering.
As a youngster growing up in America, our days were filled with baseball, football, hot dogs and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Oh how I adored PB & J and so did our Father. It wasn’t just Jelly our father loved, he had a penchant for all condiments. Mango chutney, gherkin relish, mustard, mayonnaise, I mean the pantry was covered in jar upon jar and how can we forget that infamous red sauce… Ketchup!! which seemed to be a horror to our Mother as she watched him cover every meal in this red, sweet intoxicating sauce.
Early years of spit cleaning Dad’s shoes till you could see your reflection in them, brushing them so much that the smell of the polish became intoxicatingly hypnotic. Accompanying Dad on the weekend to Fisherman’s Bend for weekend work where he’d give me pages of data entry, not too exciting for a young teenager but proud to spend time with him and feel that I was special as I was invited to his office and could meet with some of his weekend work-aholic cohorts. Then the drive home fascinated with a repetitive quirk of his, playing with rubber bands. He always seemed to have a multitude of these on the gear stick and I’d watch his fingers nimbly stretch or rotate them as he drove and we listened to ABC radio news.
The times of local tip trips, where as youngsters we would scrounge the grounds looking for any treasures. Old radios, heaters, broken appliances, springs, anything worthy to a young inventor. It was a Father Son outing, oh and how me and my brother enjoyed. As I aged it progressed from Tips to Hardware stores, to the legendary Bunnings. On my passages back to the house in later years, I would fondly run down to Bunnings with Dad. A store we would easily get lost in even though not always walking out with much but our time together.
There are many fond memories that dance around in my mind about our Father, but to tell the truth I find life perplexing in that in your formative years your parents are dedicated to your every movement and breath. You formulate an intense relationship of unconditional love and admiration for one another. Then you become a Teen you start to seek independence. Your time becomes divided. You spend much time with friends and activities not wanting to be smothered by your parents attention but wanting to have their unfaltering approval. Then you are out of home traveling, going to university or perhaps living abroad. Your relationship becomes reduced to phone conversations and an annual family gathering. Then mid life you realize perhaps you don’t know as much as you thought about your parents and you start to seek more of their time and convert the parental relationship into a more wholesome friend relationship. Perhaps move back closer to where they live and try to extend those vacations when you are back at home. Seeking and pondering memories and stories that you may have grown up with but forgotten or are learning anew. Time comes when you realise that those who have dedicated their life and love for you are not immortal, life unfortunately has a use by date. You clamour to learn more in these final years, to hold on to their presence, their memories, their unconditional love. Silence fills much of the conversations, sitting in reflection, in question about life. Then they are gone. Loss, sadness, regret. You never have a chance to ask any more questions, to learn more about who they were or to have that endearing hug that tells you everything will be alright.
We were blessed to have our Father as long as we did. As many of you know he was fighting illness for over a decade and at one stage we were advised that he wouldn’t make his 80th Birthday. That he surpassed that for another seven years is a tribute to his will as well as to the old Halsted stubborn-ness.
When my Father passed, there was the unfortunate task of advising everyone, I must say however that I was very surprised on reviewing his emails how many of his old friends he kept in contact with. Even though some emails were just the forwarding of dirty jokes, many were fond correspondences. I always thought that he was a little technophobic, not up to the times with emailing, but it seems to the contrary. He had a yearning to keep in correspondence with people far and wide, young and old. I know he received much delight from his friends and families emails and I am very appreciative that you all kept in contact with him which kept that twinkle in his eyes alight.
In closing I’d also like to thank Ruth. You were a radiant flower that brought much love and delight to our father’s life. You had softened him, in a good way, opening his heart and bringing a depth of expression and love that I wasn’t aware of when I was younger. It was wonderful to see the love you both shared for one another and I feel that you made him a better man in those latter years.
I understand as I age unfortunately my memories will fade, however in my heart you will always be Dad. Where ever you may rest, may you be in peace, may the manhattans be plentiful, the conversation stimulating and a good stockpile of ketchup.
As a tribute to her love Ty, Ruth has written a beautiful poem.
He stands astride our world with mischievous intent
To ride the tide
Or draw aside
He gravitated to warm a room
Gives to the team
Finds our seam
His fears groundless
He seeks delight
The light and to enlighten He’s alright!
Rich in intent
Gently steps our guy
We are now going to have a reflective time where you will have the opportunity to think of your own memories, thoughts, and times with Tyler. We are going to listen to music he loved as we watch his life on the screen.
His family have chosen these photos for you to enjoy.
You may notice in the booklet and will hear in the photo tribute a reference to Lake Wobegon. The is an American radio play series that dad loved. It was based around a fictional midwestern town in Minnesota. Each tale begins and ends with the same catch cries – ‘It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon’ and finishing with ‘That’s all the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the men are strong, all the women are good looking and the children are above average.’ These beautiful stories delighted dad for decades and we enjoyed listening to them on many a car trip. These sentiments are our dad down to a tee.
While Tyler leaving our world will leave you feeling incredible sadness, we will cherish the memories we have of him and thank him for all those good times we just saw on the screen.
Tyler’s loves and passions have been passed down to following generations. Each of you will have your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. You have your own memories of him, individual lessons learned, laughs shared, values passed down through the years. Each of you here has a story to tell, I encourage you to share this with one another, it will give you comfort. Continue to share with one another over the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
You have all been warmly invited to head up to the property in Pakenham Upper, to come together and share in the memories.
It is fitting to also remember what we owe to those who have gone before us.
How our lives are intricately linked to a past, and a heritage, and how that shapes the destiny of our futures and that of our children’s.
Nothing can now detract from the joy and beauty that you shared with Tyler, nothing can possibly affect the happiness and depth of experience that he himself knew.
What has been, has been – forever.
The past, with all its meaning, is sacred and secure.
Your love for Tyler and his love for you, his family and friends cannot be altered by time or circumstance.
You rightfully celebrate that he is and always will be a part of your lives.
May I ask you all to stand as we prepare to leave the space here today.
Let us say farewell to Tyler, but not goodbye.
Wish him a ‘bon voyage’ as you do a friend whose joyous visit finds its happy end.
Allow his memory to live within your hearts to cheer and comfort you.
Remember all your fondest thoughts of him.
Although life seemed sweeter when he lived, remember –
nothing is lost that he gave, nothing destroyed that he has done.
He leaves a legacy behind in you.
We cherish the memory of his words, his deeds and his character.
We cherish the friendship
And most of all, the love.
We now bid the ashes of Tyler peace and bless their safe journey back home and then on to a place that holds special meaning -The Point Lonsdale Jetty. A beautiful town by the sea.
Tenderly, reverently and with the greatest of respect we bid him farewell.
Thus, thinking of him lets us continue to honour his life by sharing his memories over and over this afternoon, have a Manhattan in honour of Ty and do it with a cheeky smile, a tear, a laugh, a twinkle in the eye and a warm heart.
Please click the play button below to listen to our closing music.
The Music Man, Lida Rose (4:12sec) & Benny Goodman, Sing, Sing, Sing (5:08sec)
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