“Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul. I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
These were the words chosen to farewell Bendigo Community Telco chief Phil Lazenby at the Bendigo Stadium yesterday.
Those who turned out to celebrate Phil’s life knew those lyrics would have been just want he wanted.
Phil was more than a respected and admired businessman; he was a rocker, a mate and everyone’s “buddy”.
As former Bendigo Bank chief executive Rob Hunt told the hundreds who attended the memorial service, Phil was a man of integrity and always there to help others.
“He was committed absolutely to anyone else who was committed to Bendigo,’’ he said.
“He was an absolutely unbelievable Bendigonian.
“He was a very, very special human being.’’
Reading the eulogy on behalf of Phil’s parents Jack and Jeanette and sister Kaye, Mr Hunt spoke of a young boy who developed a love for the drums at the age of three. A boy who loved music, and would take his record player to basketball matches.
He was a member of the YMCA as a teenager and became a troop leader in Scouts.
Phil would spend many weekends camping and water-skiing with his family at Lake Eppalock and loved riding his bike and catching frogs.
His first job at the age of 14 was to clean acid off batteries – for which he was paid 48.5 cents per hour.
Phil’s first full-time job was selling shoes at Myer at the age of 19, before he travelled and then returned to his family’s real estate business, during which time he conducted more than 500 auctions.
“But he gave up working in real estate because it interfered with his band work,’’ Mr Hunt said.
Phil then had various roles in the banking sector before taking on his dream job with the telco.
“He was enthusiastic and capable, but at times just a little impatient,’’ Mr Hunt said.
“He wanted everything to happen now.’’
That energy and passion was spoken of by all who addressed the gathering, including Keith Sutherland, sister Kaye and long time friend Chris DeAraugo.
Chris was joined by Peter Gavin and several other lifelong friends to belt out some rock ballads that best reminded them of their mate Phil.
The service was upbeat, energetic and loud – after all, there was no other way to remember Phil Lazenby.