Malcolm Randall Humphries
To Betty and the Humphries family, please know that you have my sincerest heartfelt sympathy at Malcolm’s sudden departure. I appreciate too the opportunity to leave my memories of the 26 years when Mal, Simon and myself were a family.
Largely my overall memory of Mal, apart from being good looking, his love of life, laughter, his Christian standards, his positive attitude and generous nature, was his energy. He was involved in so much, always on the move. Before I met him at his 21st birthday he worked for Mobile Oil while attending accountancy classes at night school; for relaxation he played A-grade tennis, went ten-pin bowling, learnt to play the guitar and was relegated to the family’s garage for drum practise. At the Billy Graham Crusade he committed his life to Christ and soon became involved in the exhilaration of teenage ministry through Youth for Christ. It was during this time that we started dating. True to his effervescent and dynamic personality, we were engaged within six weeks. Then followed four years study at the College of the Bible which included ancient Greek, church leadership, sermon preparation plus preaching and home visitations at his Tootgarook church. Aside from lectures, assignments and study, he simultaneously ran tax and insurance agencies, supplied stationery for students, and during a drought year, a lawn mowing business; he even briefly sold ‘SWIPE’. He was a hard worker enjoying whatever he put his hand to. Upon graduation from Bible College, and with his many interests, he was still considering what his life’s focus would be.
We moved for three years to the New Hebrides, prior to the island group becoming the self-determining Vanuatu. There he set up and managed office-systems for schools and hospitals, soon to be handed over and administered by the people of the new nation. Mal was modestly proud to have initiated the first company in Vanuatu to be 51% owned by the islanders. It was during this period that he realised he loved the challenge of building a business from the ground up.
Back in Australia and for the past 40 years, his caring and selfless personality merged in the management of independent retirement villages and nursing homes. Forty years!
Unfortunately my energy could not keep up with Mal as he optimistically endeavoured to fit his marriage and fatherhood into the brief hours between his many responsibilities. My respect for Mal never wavered and not wanting to hold him back, we parted. A few weeks ago, after his first operation, Mal phoned me to say he had had a realisation. ‘I am sorry that I was so busy I neglected you and Simon’ he confessed and we cried together; later we reminisced and laughed a lot, bonded still by affection. I sincerely reassured him ‘I never stopped caring.’ I have always been in awe of his frenetic energy, his imagination, personality and talents. And I will always appreciate that we shared our early lives together.
Can’t you imagine that even now Mal is busy organising a welcome for each one of us? Until we meet again.