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Monday, January 29, 2018

Death of Ralph Hillman- Legendary Schoolteacher and Sports Mentor and Coach

Today I attended the funeral of Ralph Hillman who was a teacher at Henley High when I was there from 1959-1963.

He later taught in Queensland and also at Port Adelaide.

I have not seen him since schooldays.

Ralph was an amazing man and it was great to hear some of the stories from his pastor, grandson and a former student.

It brought back many of my memories of him and the fact that he has influenced so many young people and some of us not so young now.

The funeral was a wonderful tribute to the man and also a statement of his Faith.

My lasting memory of Ralph was on the occasion of my last high school cricket match in 1963(I think it was the day President Kennedy was assassinated) and after the match Ralph presented me with a brand new cricket bat.

I asked him why and he says it was for recognition of the contribution I had made to sport at Henley High.

It was not an official presentation but I believe he had paid for it out of his own money.

Amazing!  I was deeply moved.

In recollecting to back then, I think it was Ralph that encouraged me to go and play cricket for the West Torrens Cricket Club.

I had not gone out to play straight after school years as I wanted to concentrate on football.

I understand he was also behind many other guys playing for the club and I know he also mentored some fine footballers.

He was a fine coach, teacher and mentor and as I heard today he also had an amazing singing voice.

It was very touching to hear the tribute paid by his grandson Jackson.

I am sad that I did not maintain contact after school days but am looking forward to catching up in Heaven.

Darryl Wood and Ian Mcphee were also there from the West Torrens Cricket Club.(Past players)

The packed Church was a testimony to how many lives he had touched.

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