Ulmarra says goodbye to a real ?larrikin
By JULIA ILES
MORE than 300 people attended the funeral of former Commercial Hotel publican Dale Berney at Ulmarra's Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church yesterday.
It was the first time in 10 years a funeral has been held at the riverside church. The service was led by Father Paschal O'Halloran.
"Dale used to do the lawns for the church," Fr O'Halloran said.
Sadly, the 56-year-old father of four died after suffering a severe heart attack.
Mr Berney's eldest son, Marty Berney, described his father as a bit of a larrikin who liked a joke and enjoyed going to the pub, as well as keeping horses.
"It's been really tough and I couldn't have gotten through it without the love and support of friends and neighbours," Dale's wife, Kate Berney, said.
"I wanted to keep it (the funeral) in Ulmarra as it would be hard for everyone to travel to another place."
She approached the cleaner of the church to ask Father O'Halloran for permission to hold the funeral there.
During the service Linda Berney, Dale's sister-in-law, delivered the eulogy.
She Mr described Mr Berney as 'crusty on the outside but soft as a marshmallow on the inside'.
"His life was unexpectedly cut short, but was well lived and he was respected by us all. We have always found Dale to be thoughtful, helpful and honest with an overwhelming generosity for his family and community," Linda said.
"When something needed doing, Dale would be the first to offer assistance."
After the service Mr Berney's friends and family toasted him with a quiet drink at the Commercial Hotel, which he had run for five years.
Kate said she had found Mr Berney's 'cunning-kick' (wallet), so the drinks were on him.
"I think this is how Dale would have liked it, simple and quiet and we have lots of memories here," she said.