ANDREW Tarrant had a special soul, his wife Kerrie said, and it was a soul that touched many people's lives.

Her words proved true when more than 400 people lined the riverfront at Memorial Park in Grafton to remember his life yesterday.

Overlooking the Clarence River that Andrew loved so much, family, friends, colleagues and students said goodbye to one of the kindest and most generous men they'd met.

Andrew, who died on August 5 following a battle with gastrointestinal cancer, was born at Runnymede Hospital in January 1959 and grew up on a family farm on Southgate Rd.

Kerrie remembered her husband bringing light into the lives of everyone around him. She shared memories of his childhood, his family, the couple's chance meeting at a Jacaranda Festival party and the birth of their daughter Johanna, who Andrew delivered at home.

"There are family stories about Andrew racing up the steps of his family home exclaiming that he'd found a six-legged cow, but it turned out to be calving," Kerrie said.

 

In 1956, the Tarrants moved to Yamba where there were few permanent families living at the time.

"He considered his early life in Yamba a really good one. Although the family wasn't flush with money, life revolved around the outdoors, earth and sand, billy carting down Yamba's Queen St median strip, which sounds horrifying, and the beach," Kerrie said.

It was in Yamba that Andrew became an integral part of the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club community.

He completed his first year of education at St Mary's in Grafton with Mrs Rowe, and Kerrie said his kindergarten report card summed up his personality.

"Mrs Rowe wrote on his kinder report that Andrew was the most interested and pleasing child. He always had kind words for her. I think she nailed his personality precisely," she said.

It would be many years later after a career in retail that Andrew became a teacher.

"At 40 with family life in mind, he set his goal to attend university full time and study education," Kerrie said.

"Uni was great for Andrew, he was focused and applied himself to his studies and achieved well.

"He worked in education for 15 years, he connected with students because of his friendly nature but not having been a high-flying academic at school he understood where many students came from.

"I think they sensed his genuine concern for their welfare."

The casket in front of the large crowd at the farewell service of Andrew Tarrant at Memorial Park.
The casket in front of the large crowd at the farewell service of Andrew Tarrant at Memorial Park. Adam Hourigan

Andrew was a member of the Susan and Elizabeth Island Trust, a life member of Yamba Surf Life Saving Club, a member of Grafton Rowing Club, Grafton Water Brigade and Grafton Midday Rotary Club.

A lover of nature, Andrew taught his family all about nature, taking them on bush walks where they would enjoy the world around them.

"Johanna reminded me that 'Dad was a staunch defender of the fruit bat' which wasn't popular with many locals," Kerrie said.

"So guys, the 'bat-ton' has been passed on to you."



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