Eulogy by Terry Pfafflin

January 7, 2014 at 10:12 am (Uncategorized) (, )

It is my pleasure & privilege to speak about David, if somewhat melancholy, as we all feel.

Let me say, it is not difficult to speak of nice things about a nice person and David was a nice person and a good person in the true Christian sense. He did not have a bad fibre in his body – although he had a few eccentricities and a few extraordinary accomplishments, of which we are all aware. He never wished ill on anyone even when he disagreed with you – I ought to know as I have known David since we were 12 yrs of age Riverview College as boarders.

We both came from the Riverina, he at Leeton and l at Griffith. The Pfafflin & Wall families have known one another since the early 1930’s, when Gus my father moved to Wagga from Sydney and Dr Jim, David’s father, moved to Nerrandera from Melbourne.

David was also pleased of a common connection between us – both having French grandmamas and we were both francophiles. Later on in the 50’s, it was almost a ritual on every boxing day the Wall’s would come to the Pfafflin place to enjoy a BBQ with plenty of wine & food and of course lots of dancing and fun.

At St Ignatius College Riverview David was a good student with a penchant for the histories both Modern & Ancient and especially in English Literature. Sporting wise – He played in the lst Xv Rugby and in the lst Vlll for a while, and settled in the lst IV – he also ran the 880 and the mile with me. In order to keep fit and strengthen his body, he smashed rocks on the Riverview foreshore With Fr Gerard Jones SJ.Those stones became the foundations of the newly renovated Cova cottage, previously Bruce Kennairds cottage.(see the Dec edition of the Ignatian ­magazine) So indeed David is in someway enshrined Riverview forever.

During the latter years Riverview David would take cold showers summer & winter and was dubbed the nickname ‘Yogi’ by my brother in law David Ragg. A pseudonym he rather enjoyed.

David did not eat much of the food at Riverview as much of the food was not palatable after the war years. He was often seen in the Chapel, as he was a deeply spiritual person and somewhat of an aesthetic.

These characteristics stood him in good stead all of his life. He had a keen eye for truth & Justice, the foundation of many of his arguments.

After Riverview he wanted to do something extraordinary again. He wanted to row in a canoe down the Murrimbidgee from Albury to Adelaide, with another friend Leo Ingham. They got as far as Denilquin and struck a snag and the boat sank. i had the ominous task of bringing the original canoe from Sydney to Leeton on the back of a ute. Yet again, with his spirit of adventure and daringness he climbed Mt Kìiimanjaro (thank God I wasn’t involved in that venture)

David then went on to PNG as a Medical Field Officer and did wonderful things to help the indigenous poor. Here he met Debbie who became his wife and they have 2 sons Andrei and David present here today. Debbie was the Personal Asst to one of the Chief Ministers in PNG Govt. They both returned to Sydney and he joined the teaching profession.

0n retirement, in keeping with his natural bent for writing, he wrote 2 books one of his experiences in PNG and the other about his father Dr Jim and the family history, and the good works he did as a medical Dr in the Riverina. Above al1 David was a prolific writer on the Internet – I used to say you probably take the computer to bed with you! He just loved writing.

Some 9 yrs ago David had a massive operation, a quadruple bypass. l saw him hospital and I thought he was on ‘death’s door’. However with his remarkable courage and determination he recovered and was up and about in a matter of weeks. He then carried on with his devoted wife Debbie without any fear of recurrence of heart problems in fact I used to jokingly say you will probably out live me.

We used to communicate at least once a week and met up on a regular basis at the Trinity Hotel with my cousin Antony Ruhan SJ, Tom Williams and Paul Dennet. We had much intellectual discussion of politics, philosophical and sociological matters – David enjoyed it very much as we all did. He will be missed at those gatherings. He was indeed a very good friend and liked by all.

David Andrew de Berigny Wall – was an extraordinary man who did extraordinary things. He could turn his hand to pretty well anything. He loved his family & especially his sister Madeleine as they were the last 2 born of a very large family. However, the most outstanding characteristic that he had, is that he would ‘give it a go’ with great gusto and in the Ignatian credo of ‘Dare to achieve’.

Of course as the bible says we know not ‘where or when’ we will die – but if David had a choice, he could not have chosen a better time than the week of Christ’s birth. There is no doubt David Andrew de Berigny Wall will have a safe and swift passage to God and eternal life.

My sincere condolences to all the members of his family and from all of his friends here present. To Debbie, Andrei, David, Peter and Madeleine. (Mary Rose is in Norway, not well and unable to attend)

Adieu mon Cher ami – R.I.P.

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1 Comment

  1. Jess Nesbitt said,

    Hi- I was hoping you had some way to contact Terry Pfafflin?
    We have found a large amount of his and his family’s documents in an abandoned building in Goulburn, NSW. There are also letters to David here that might interest you.

    Thanks and I’m sorry to hear of the passing of David Wall, my condolences.

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