UPDATE: Friday, 7am: On Tuesday friends and family gathered in Bendigo for the funeral of Phil Hanna, former-CEO of Villawood Properties.
His father Bill supplied the Bendigo Advertiser with a version of this edited eulogy:
I am Phil's dad Bill. I stand sadly to represent my darling wife Olive - Philip's mum.
This is not something we ever expected to be happening. It is the wrong way round.
At the outset, on behalf of Olive, Michelle, Jack and little Sophia, Olwyn, Grant, Timothy, Joshua and Grace, Stephen, Mary and Liam, I thank you all for coming today to remember, recognise dear Philip, and to extend sympathy to the family.
I just want to bring some personal thoughts, and a few of our hundreds of memories. These are augmented by diaries I have recorded daily for 65 years.
I clearly recall that beautiful early summer day in Belfast when Phil was born, and Olive will remember it more vividly. Dads were not allowed to be present at their babies birth.
His first three years were lived in Belfast, fairly near to both sets of grandparents about 40 miles away. Phil gained a little sister Olwyn three years later.
A big upheaval occurred for us all in 1969. We migrated to Australia on 5th August 1969. This change of location was related to my work.
The flight was on a Boeing 707 filled by migrants. It was a hard flight for dear Olive. It was long with lots of crying children. Olwyn was the youngest passenger - only two months old. There were many stops, and I vividly recall exhausted little Philip fast asleep on the floor of the plane, with passengers and crew stepping carefully over him.
We spent a couple of years in Mudgee NSW, and Philip started kinder there.
They were pretty happy years. We had a large lawn an acre next door to the medical centre. The three children had great fun playing with their trikes, and a lovely cubby house and a beaut little dog called Leapy.
We relocated to Bendigo 1972, and while we lived in Bendigo, Phil and big brother Steve attended Gravel Hill and Kennington Methodist Church Sunday school, about 200 yards away. We moved in December 1972 and in the new year they transferred to Kennington School.
I believe that Phil, Steve and Olwyn were very happy, and had a pretty carefree childhood. Olive was a terrific mum, and I confess did the larger portion of the parenting, but I was around as much as my hectic work life allowed.
Philip inherited Olive's creative and imaginative skills. She was a trained artist and teacher. Those skills he put to good use in later life, envisaging buildings, roads etc. He could sketch them straight on to paper in just minutes.
Phil found it easy to make friends at school, Sunday school or through sport just about anywhere he went.
Phil really enjoyed visits from Olive's parents, and of course visits to their place in Ireland as a family in 1977 and 1979.
I recall one little incident on 1977 trip when we went to Gretna Green on the border of England and Scotland. It was a place where young couples eloped to marry without parental consent. The tour guide called for volunteers for the bride and groom from our party of 40 tourists. Immediately little Phil's hand went up, so he got wed to a 40-year-old lady!
We had many fabulous holidays at places like Coffs, Caloundra, Noosa, Glenelg, and along the Great Ocean Road. Steve and Phil loved Woolamai and Fair Haven, and he loved nothing more than to catch a good wave.
Phil was very courageous and seemed to have few fears. One little incident I recall was after we returned late in the pm when it was getting dark. We couldn't find a door key. All windows were well secured. What to do? Break a window?
Phil recalled a little door going under the house, so he volunteered to get in the dark place and crawl under three rooms, through small gaps in walls until he reached our room. There, he kicked the trap door open and got through the carpet to open the house doors!
Stephen has mentioned the great love they both had for cars, and speed. A lot of teenage time was spent around and under cars, buying, selling, repairing, and reassembling all sorts. Our enormous backyard at one time boasted 20 vehicles.
Here’s one funny little story before Phil had a licence: he persuaded his father to go and bring home an old Toyota Tiara which was not registered.
We paid the man, revved up and started down the hill over Edwards Road.
We had no brakes.
The door flew open.
It was all I could do stay in car and somehow got it into the Strath office yard where it mercifully stopped.
After school at Girton and BSCC Phil passed his HSC and commenced university studies in Melbourne. But he was still home most weekends.
He developed new friends and interests, graduated in 1987, and did a post grad diploma, going weekly in the train. then he worked as town planner in Ballarat and Bendigo and had two treat trips to Ireland in 1999 and 2004 for family celebrations. Even with all this he was a very busy boy buying, renovating several houses in Bendigo. In 2005 I remember him telling us he was off on a trip to New York, Prague and Barcelona.
I will jump a few years to 2008 when he decided to marry Michelle a lovely young lady, and in due course we were thrilled when Jack and Sophia arrived.
Life seemed to be full for them and we were very proud of his work achievements.
We still loved to see him with Michelle and Jack and Sophia whenever possible.
Olive and I were greatly enriched by dear Philip's life. We will miss him terribly.
TUESDAY: The former-CEO of Villawood Properties will be remembered for his character, professionalism and integrity.
Phil Hanna died unexpectedly over the Christmas period and on Tuesday family and friends gathered for a service in Bendigo, where he spent much of his childhood and later career.
The former manager of planning at the City of Greater Bendigo was also a town planner in Ballarat.
Father Bill Hanna said as a child Phil was one to make friends easily, whether at Sunday school, through sports or “just about anywhere he went”.
He also inherited his mother Olive’s creative and imaginative skills.
“Olive was a trained artist and teacher. Those skills he put to great use in later life, envisaging buildings, roads, etc. He could sketch them straight onto paper in just minutes,” Bill said.
A statement on Villawood Properties’ Facebook page said Phil achieved a fine balance in his career, bringing to the table the best aspects of the public and private sectors.
“This has been proven in the outpouring of grief and condolences we have received from the wider industry,” the statement read.
From an early age, Phil had a talent for ball games including soccer, cricket and tennis. He also had a passion for water sports including surfing and shared his brother Stephen’s love of cars.
“A lot of teenage time was spent around and under cars, buying, selling, reassembling all sorts - our enormous backyard at one time boasted 20 vehicles,” Bill said.
Olive and Bill were delighted in 2008 when Phil decided to tie the knot with wife Michelle and later to have children.
“Life seemed to be full for them and we were very proud of his achievements in work,” Bill said.
“Olive and I were greatly enriched by dear Phil’s life. We will miss him terribly.”
Those from Melbourne who might have found it difficult to get to Bendigo could attend a second memorial at 1pm on Monday 14th January, at Carousel, 22 Aughtie Drive, Albert Park.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.