January 2012 Newsletter - Raymond John Loft 1949 - 2011

My brother Ray died of lung cancer aged 62. Far too young to die but he managed to live a full life for the years he had.
After leaving school he spent the obligatory few years trying out various jobs and generally having a good time until he grew up (a bit) and ended up in the public service.
He spent the early years in Melbourne then a few years in Darwin where he met Julie (also a public servant) and had a son Michael, then they moved to Canberra where he spent the last twenty years or so. Ray and Julie split up about ten years ago.
He never lost his love for fishing and it was a constant source of pleasure. He went back to Darwin once a year for a fishing trip with old mates, still fished in Gippsland and had lots of trips to Eucumbene and like most fishermen, was capable of slight exaggeration: on whatever topic was being discussed. Obviously he loved and ate a lot of fish.
We all learnt to play the piano with Mrs Ross in Church Street and Ray kept up with it all his life. He was a folkie and became involved with early Australian folklore; history, stories and music. We all went to the National Folk Festival in Canberra for many years and camped for the five days, but he also went to many small bush festivals and loved sitting around a campfire singing bush ballads and reciting poetry. He was a lousy singer but he made up for it with his enthusiasm and his piano, guitar and ukulele playing.
Needless to say, he liked the odd drop of red and had a large circle of friends with the same affliction and as many of them were also public servants, this enabled them to easily solve the problems of the world with each passing bottle. When he was diagnosed with cancer just before his sixtieth birthday, he decided to celebrate each birthday with a party and all the wine in his cellar became 'drink now'. So he had three memorable birthday parties and went out in style.
….Leola Taylor (Loft) YHS 1955
(Photo attached)