(14 March 1929 - 8 September 2021)
  • Mr


    EULOGY FOR ANGELOS MICHAEL

    Angelos Michael was born in Syrianochori, Cyprus on the 14th of March, 1929 to Michael and Eleni Michael. At the age of 22, he married Panayiota Shaili. They were blessed with 7 children. Michael, Helen, George (deceased) Chris, Patricia, Maria and John. Although he had married in Cyprus, he came to Australia alone by a ship named the Corsica in 1952 to start a new life for his wife and his family to be.

    He also had the honour of Christening our god sister Irene.

    He first lived in rented rooms with several other men from around his village with some of them eventually becoming his Koumbari. The first story we remember was when “he had lost his keys and asked the landlord for a kiss instead of keys” and received a slap across his face. That was his initiation.

    In 1955, three years after his arrival in Australia he purchased his first home in Forest Lodge and brought his wife out to start their new life together. They had 4 children in that house and he also sponsored and brought out his younger brother Andrew (our Uncle) for a better life.

    In 1966, the next home he purchased and settled in was our current house at West Ryde. It was a small dwelling of 3 bedrooms on a land size of 1000 m2 which enabled him to plant orange, mandarin, lemon, olive and figs trees and his vegetables & Kologassi. Three more children were born there, bringing the total to 7 children. We shared one TV in the household between us and thank the lord there were 2 bathrooms - one being outside.

    Our father worked very hard to support his family by working overtime, and sometimes having two extra part-time jobs to pay off his bills and support his large family.

    His home was always open to all family and friends and especially to his nephews and nieces after the 1974 war broke out in Cyprus to accommodate them. Both from Dad and Mums side of the family.

    Our Dads’ name is Angelo, and believe us, he was no Angel and no different to any other man that we know.
    Our upbringing was stern, strict but fair and yes we feared him as children. He did his very best and we commend him for that.

    In 1968 Dad went for a holiday to visit his homeland and family accompanied by his 4 older children all under 11yrs of age. This was a real eye opener for all of us kids especially seeing our grandparents’ home which only had 2 rooms, a small open fire kitchen and a bedroom and tucked in the corner was a little room with a hole in the ground.

    Mum was left alone for 3 months back in Australia running the household and garden with her 2 small children under 3. We can’t even imagine how lonely, difficult and tough it must have been for her in a foreign country with minimal language communication skills under those circumstances.

    Shortly after dad’s arrival back to Australia, his last son, John was born. We have memories of dad running around the house with scissors in his hand, ushering the ambulance officers in and we were able to witness the miracle of life with the arrival of mum and dad’s seventh child.

    We remember Dad always taking us all out to picnics at National Parks, beaches and farms. Bread, olives, Keftethes Koubekia, Haloumi and watermelon were always on the menu as well as whatever fruit and any vegetables he could collect from his garden, this was his pride and joy. Going to Gosford was another adventure collecting wild mushrooms and purchasing a live sheep to bring
    home so as to eat the grass in his back yard so he wouldn’t have to mow the lawn. Little did we know it was to end up on the dinner table during Easter festivities. As well as our other beloved animals that we had as pets like chickens, turkeys and rabbits, they were also on the menu.

    There were also lots of memories of picnics at St George Monastery in Springwood. Chokoes and eggs were plentiful and in abundance and Dad had us go around the neighbourhood selling them, and that was our pocket money for the week. We would compete with each other to see who had more silver coins in our pockets.

    In 1974 Dad sent his wife and the 3 remaining younger children to Cyprus for a 3-month holiday to visit her family. Unfortunately, his wife’s happiness fell short three weeks into her holiday as Cyprus was invaded and under attack by the Turks. She packed and collected her bags and was put in the back of a truck with her children and driven to the hills. Back in Australia you can only imagine the anguish the family went through. Thankfully, mum and her 3 children arrived safely back to Australia a couple of weeks later.

    In 1983-84 tragedy struck the family. His son George was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. We all had to endure the pain, anguish and struggles of watching him deteriorating slowly over 9 months going through chemotherapy, radiation with our mother nursing him. She nurtured, fed, bathed and washed him daily towards the end of his struggles. He passed away peacefully on Mother's Day May, 13 at the tender age of 23. Our mothers’ cries where heard screeching through the corridors of the hospital (and what stuck, was, quote- “open your eyes yemou, so you can give me your present” and the other was “I will see you in 10 years.”

    The next ten years 1984 -1994 were challenging for them - struggling with grief and happiness at the same time. They married off their 4 eldest children.

    In 1992 Dad took his first holiday alone with his wife who was frail with ailing health issues and they travelled to Cyprus, Mitilíni and Jerusalem. They were blessed and baptized in the river Jordan and received their certificates and shroud.

    They arrived back to Australia safely and married off another child. Six months later we sadly lost our mother. Her wish was honoured and she passed away on the Queen’s birthday on 12 June 1994 at the age of 68.
    She was also blessed with 5 grandchildren.

    From 1995 to 2006, Dad and his youngest son John, lived together in the empty house filled with memories. Mostly memories of joy. Seeing his children settling down, expanding their families and blessing Dad with another 9 grandchildren with ongoing celebrations and gatherings for Easter, Christmas, grandchildren’s birthdays and Mnimosina.

    In 2007, Dad finally got to see his youngest son John marry Danielle. They blessed Dad with another 3 beautiful grandchildren bringing the total to 17. The house was alive again, filled with happiness and screams of young children.

    In 2008, at the ripe old age of 80 Dad went back to Cyprus for the last time to see his remaining relatives and to relax and enjoy his homeland - he stayed for 3 months.

    In 2016 on Mother’s Day and whilst Dad was in Hospital with a chest infection, he had a stroke. This left him paralyzed down the right side of his body and he had lost the ability to walk and care for himself. He stayed in hospital for 6 months until his son John brought him home. Dad succumbed to and accepted his disability and not once did we ever hear him complain. With the support of family, he survived being bedridden for 5 years until Father’s Day 2021 when he was admitted back into hospital. Three days later on 8th September, on the Feast Day of the Nativity of the Theodokos, Dad passed away alone peacefully in his hospital bed. During these difficult times of covid we are sure he felt us all there with him. He survived his wife by 27 years.

    This was our Dad’s life - humble, simple and proud and he taught us many lessons in life.

    We pray that he has found peace in a place where there is no sorrow or pain, in a place of green pastures (and Kologassi).
    Amen.
    Uploaded by Helen Bounatsos
    • 3 months ago
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