Graham Cecil Coomber
Graham passed away on 20th of November 2015 aged 76 years. He will always be remembered as a great football coach, teacher, lecturer, tutor, mentor, adviser, good friend and wonderful family man.
He was born in Brisbane to Ena and Cec Coomber on 16 May 1939 and was the eldest of three children. His family lived in Ashgrove and he went to Oakleigh Primary School where his aptitude as an artist was fostered by his Grade 5 teacher. Here he was selected to have lessons in noted Queensland artist Vida Lahey’s classes at the Queensland Art Gallery. He went to Industrial High and left school after Junior to become a cadet interior decorator at Hixco’s furniture store and then a cadet in the display department of McWhirter’s department store. Graham loved sport, playing school cricket, rugby league, tennis and hockey. He particularly enjoyed tennis, playing in A Grade competitions. In later years he became involved when his sons started playing soccer, and this led to his becoming a coach, registrar, representative team manager, President and PR manager for Brisbane North and Districts Junior Soccer Association (BNDJSA), and also Junior Football Co-ordinator, Roo ball Referee Co-ordinator and a Director of Coaching at Mitchelton Football Club. He was awarded a 10-year service badge by BNDJSA – he had also compiled a history of this organisation.
Graham entered Queensland Teachers’ Training College in 1957 having taken night classes to matriculate, and his first teaching position was at South Brisbane State School. He taught here for two years before being awarded a two-year scholarship to the Central Technical College and becoming qualified as an Art Teacher.
When Canon Ernie Smith retired to Ashgrove after being priest at St James Anglican church, Kelvin Grove, Graham met his daughter Alison who was teaching at Oakleigh School. They married at St Paul’s Ashgrove in December 1961 and started married life at Moorooka, but then moved to Townsville when Graham was transferred to Pimlico High School as teacher of Art and Geometrical Drawing and Perspective. He joined the school Cadet unit and eventually became Officer-in Charge. He also took night classes at the Technical College and tutored in Engineering Drawing at the Townsville University. During their years in Townsville Alison and Graham’s two sons Scott and Justin were born.
When Graham was transferred to Banyo High School in 1968 they bought their first house at Everton Park, and in 1970 Graham became Lecturer in Art and Craft at Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now Queensland University of Technology). Here he met many lifelong artist friends and many of his ‘teacher’ students remember him with great fondness. On retirement Alison and Graham bought a house at Stafford Heights. They later relocated to Keperra Sanctuary Retirement Village because of ongoing health problems.
His love and great knowledge of art was always apparent. Graham was involved with the Kelvin Grove Printmaking Studio, taught Associate Diploma of Visual Arts students, attended an etching workshop in Canada, ran many night hobby art classes as well as Art Appreciation classes, and was still painting just days before he passed away. Chronic, painful arthritis meant Graham had surgery for joint implants in his hands, but he took many courses in computer graphics and desktop publishing which meant he was still able to use his creative talents on the computer.
Pa, as he was fondly known at Mitchelton Football Club and Everton Park State School, will always be remembered for his cheerfulness, his great soccer coaching skills and the interest he took in all his students. He will also be sadly missed by his former art and teacher students. He was a great family man and very proud of his sons Scott and Justin, and his four grandchildren Louis, Eliot, Mia and Abigail. He had great faith. May God keep this wonderful husband, dad, pa, teacher, mentor and friend in the palm of His hand until we meet again.
Written by Carmen Kleindienst, Art Teacher, former student, and friend