Goodbye to kind, gentle and much-loved artist
MORE than 1000 people congregated at the Wardell Sports Grounds to pay their respects and farewell Bundjalung artist Albert "Digby" Moran.
A special tribute came from Mr Moran's partner, Kerry Kelly.
"Digby was an exceptional man," she said.
"He was the male role model for my granddaughters, and I thank him for showing them that there are men in this world that are kind, gentle, humble and respectful, and I hope when they are adults that they accept nothing less than the person Digby Moran was."
The grounds were selected by Mr Moran himself as the place for his service, surrounded by big trees in the country that he loved.
Family, friends, the Bundjalung community, the arts community and fans of Mr Moran's work united at service, attended also by Page MP Kevin Hogan, Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith, Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright, former Lismore MP Thomas George, former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, Arts Northern Rivers executive director Peter Wood and musician Jimmy Willing, among hundreds of friends and relatives.
Mr Moran died suddenly on January 13.
Thomas George, who officiated as the MC, acknowledged the artist's personal and professional contribution to the Northern Rivers community.
"We remember and appreciate the contribution of Digby's life. Digby had the ability to unite us all," he said.
Many people wore red and green, the colours of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Mr Moran's favourite rugby league team.
The coffin also had the colours and emblem of the football team, which was surrounded by Moran's artwork, with boomerangs and some Australian flowers on top.
A Welcome to Country was done by the artist's brother, Lester Moran.
The eulogy was shared by family members, including the Mr Moran's niece, Naomi, who offered a more private account of the man.
"You all may wonder how he got his nickname 'cowboy'," she said.
"When he was in his 30s, he though he'd have a go at breaking in the bulls and brumbies at the local shows, and apparently he was very good at it.
"As a child he is remembered as a very curious boy, always eager to learn from his grandfather, his father and his uncles; always gardening, cutting cane, building and doubling in carpentry, always fishing and hunting."
She remembered her uncle as a football player for Woodburn and as a boxer in his younger years.
Besides family and close friends, other speakers at the service were the director of the Lismore Regional Gallery Brett Adlington, Rob Appo from Tweed Shire Council, Richard Clarke and Craig Vidler from Namatjira Haven and son-in-law Glen Rhodes.
Family photos were shown on a slide show, along with a video of Mr Moran.
As mourners departed the service, Slim Dusty's song Traveller's Prayer was played.