A Life Well Lived: Southern Legend Dan Gregan (The big "D")

Dan Gregan pictured with his Grandson Hugh!

I now think it is possible to enjoy a funeral. It is after all a final send off for someone you know and care about. Whilst that is sad, when that individual has lived a true, full and happy life it truly becomes a celebration.

Last week Dan Gregan passed away suddenly in his sleep aged 84. He was man who has always been a part of my life. He lived over the boundary fence and any farmer out there knows that is quite a big thing down south! Not only that his family and mine have lived over the boundary fence from each other since the early 1900’s when our family’s drew land from the ballet. His father and my Great Grand parents kicked around together as they broke in the land. My Grand father farmed next to Dan and then my mother did. Dan’s son John now has the boundary and John’s son Sean is my Godson.

Over the last century our families have known each other well, never living in each others pockets by any stretch of the imagination (how can you when you live 4 km apart) but supporting each other through good times and the bad. Storms and disaster, injury and illness, celebration and success have all been present at some stage during those decades.

Dan was an impressive man. Tall, lean and fit with a sharp wit and quiet way about him. He was a gentleman. He was always happy to see you, always got up and shook your hand with his big mit, was always interested in what you were doing and what was happening in your world. He was a savvy businessman and investor, farmer and stockman. He enjoyed the odd whiskey, an occasional cuban cigar, fine chocolate and loved reading his newspaper cover to cover. It is fair to say a blog or Facebook were not his preferred methods of communicating with his many friends and large family, rather he was old school…..a conversationist.

Dan and Jo (effectively a second Mum to me) raised a large and successful family with whom I have been lucky enough to have grown up amongst. All successful in their own fields and now with careers, partners and children of their own at various ages, the older I get the more I value their friendship. So when my mother rang to tell me of Dan’s death it took me by surprise. I sat down for a few minutes, let it sink in, it upset me. I had been lucky enough to spend time with him several weeks before the big earthquake in February when the Gregan clan had gathered to celebrate the christening of his latest wee Granddaughter. We chatted and laughed and I really enjoyed seeing him for the first time in 6 months or more.

His funeral was huge and it really struck me just how many people across all age groups respected and loved Dan. How his sons delivered his eulogy so well I will never know but the mix of humour, story telling and pride was a delight and classic Gregan style. Dan had a strong catholic faith and a love of people, family and friends. He was a man of the land, a farmer, a businessman and a person you listened to, respected and enjoyed fellowship with.

He was a Southern Legend and I’m sure the hundreds who shared his farewell celebration would agree.

I miss him already.

3 Replies to “A Life Well Lived: Southern Legend Dan Gregan (The big "D")”

  1. Kendall a fabulous tribute. For the brief opportunities I had with Dan I certainly concur with all that you say. To the Gregan family my thoughts and good wishes are with you all. Take care.

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