Jody Lindbeck’s Mum’s the Word | OPINION

Wal Fife's funeral was held in St John's Anglican Church, Wagga, last month.
Wal Fife's funeral was held in St John's Anglican Church, Wagga, last month.

At his pop’s funeral on Tuesday, Adam Schipp shared lovely stories about his trips around the family farm with his grandfather and his dog in the old truck.

The heartwarming and amusing anecdotes left mourners in no doubt as to how much Adam’s pop would be missed.

That pop was, of course, Joe Schipp, who served as the Member for Wagga between 1975 and 1999.

Like Wal Fife, who died just days before his fellow former Member for Wagga, Mr Schipp was highly regarded and widely respected for his community service.

Both men have been remembered for their dedication to their electorates and to the ministeries they held.

Mr Schipp’s wife Rhonda, who sadly died in March, and Mr Fife’s wife Marcia have also been praised for their hard work in the electorates their husbands served.

Both the Schipps and the Fifes were described as “teams” and Mrs Schipp and Mrs Fife were recognised for their roles.

Anyone who lived in Wagga during the time Mr Schipp and Mr Fife were in office will remember how hard both they, and their wives, worked.

But away from parliament, both Mr Schipp and Mr Fife were family men and there are now relatives who are mourning the loss of a father and a grandfather.

When we praise the public work of people like Mr Schipp and Mr Fife, we also need to remember their families, and to commend them for the support and love they have shown.

Mrs Fife was surrounded by her children, grandchildren great-grandchildren as her husband was publicly farewelled in St John’s Anglican Church last month.

For Mr Schipp’s family, the loss of a dad and pop comes just eight months after they lost a mother and grandmother.

Daryl Schipp reworked the lines of Oscar Wilde when he told his father’s funeral service in St John’s on Tuesday that “to lose one parent looks like misfortune, but to lose two in eight months looks like carelessness”.

Daryl seems to have inherited his father’s cheeky sense of humour, but there was something particularly touching about his words.

For Daryl and his brother Glenn, their wives and their children, it has been a tough year.

Joe and Rhonda Schipp were known for being a hardworking and dedicated team when it came to Wagga.

But they were also a much-loved mum and dad and –  like Mr Fife –  they are going to be missed.

Away from politics, away from community work, they had families who loved them simply for being themselves.

Politics is one of those jobs – not the only one – that requires long hours and long periods away from home.

Families have to adapt to these requirements and work around it the best way they can. They rarely ask for a public profile and right when it’s going to be hardest is when they find themselves in the spotlight.

The Schipp and Fife families have displayed strength and dignity.

They have understood that their “dads” were also highly regarded by the community and that a great many people would want to pay their respects.

While they should rightly be proud of Mr Fife and Mr Schipp and their efforts on behalf of the community, these families should be equally proud of how they have handled a heartbreakingly difficult situation.

Jody Lindbeck