Family Eulogy – Eric Ross Coulter as read by Philip Coulter (Brother)
Eric Ross Coulter was born in Brisbane on 26th May 1946 and was 65 on his last birthday. There were five children in the family born to Eric James and Joy Coulter, Judith (deceased) Marilyn (deceased) , myself Phillip, then Ross and the youngest Peter (deceased) .
Because his given name, Eric, was the same as his father’s, he has always been known to his family and friends as Ross.
The family lived at Prospect Terrace, St Lucia, and he attended the Ironside State School, as did his brothers and sisters. He completed the Scholarship examination in 1959, and because he showed an aptitude for drawing at an early age, he attended the Industrial High School for boys in Brisbane city, which was situated directly opposite the Harbours and Marine Department where his father worked. Ross had a happy childhood, was brought up in a warm family environment where our parents made sure money was available for our education, sports activities, hobbies and interests. At an early age he gained an interest in the world out there, as both his sisters traveled and lived overseas before their deaths.
He completed his Junior years at Industrial High, then transferred to Indooroopilly State High School for his senior years. He passed the Senior Examination in 1963, decided on a career in teaching, and attended the Kelvin Grove Teachers’ College the following year.
During these early years, he had a great interest in organizing Church Youth Camps. He delighted in working with other young people, and continued to be involved with youth through Lions right up to his last few weeks.
On completing his teacher training, he was posted to Biloela High School, where he taught Art and Maths. It was here that he met his future wife Kathy Wilson.
In 1967, he was called up for National Service and later, others will expand on his career in the army and his service in Vietnam.
He returned from Vietnam, and in 1969, he and Kathy were married in Biloela. He resumed his teaching career and was eventually posted to Bundamba State High School near Ipswich.
He was recognized by the department for his ability to work with difficult students, and was secconded for 6 months at Inala State High School.
Ross and Kate built a house at Camira, and started a family. In 1975, Samantha, their first child, was born prematurely and did not survive. In 1976 and after a lot of trouble, Mara was born and is here with us today. Ross’ pride and joy!
That following year, Ross was transferred to North Rockhampton High. The family took up residence at the Park and within a short time he was appointed the Art Subject Master.
He continued to teach until 1986 when he resigned and started his own business specialising in Graphic Design and Screen Printing.
This was successful and he continued with this diverse business until poor health forced him to abandon the more physical aspects the business required.
During this period, he became a respected member of the community involving himself enthusiastically in many organizations, including Lions and the RSL and responded to any call for assistance where his artistic skills and organizational abilities were required.
No call on his time or talents went unheeded.
He was instrumental in the establishment of The Gallery and more recently in developing his vision of what he called Anzac Plaza, which he hoped would be established on this site where we stand today. He has been involved in many of the projects and development of Emu Park….perhaps one could say he was the handbrake on spoiling the beautiful village atmosphere and foreshores.
In the near future a Billboard will be erected in Emu Park with the upgrade and modernization of his 3D Tourist Map of Emu Park. The original he painted and erected himself. A lot of the signage on the Shops and the entrances to town are painted by his hand.
Ross had a great love of and enthusiasm for life. Every task he took on he gave his best shot. He had a great community spirit as can be seen by the number of organizations in which he was involved. As her grew older, he felt the need to contact his army mates from his time in Vietnam. These men and their wives became part of Ross and Kate’s vacation time…meeting every few years. On one of these get togethers, he was able to show them his beloved Emu Park. He also became increasingly keen to keep up with communications with his Coulter and Herron family. And in 2009 they all came to Emu Park for a Reunion. Our mother Joy came to live near Ross, Kate and Mara and enjoyed her last years living in the village she used to visit as a young girl. Ross also enjoyed the company of Kate’s family at the annual family reunion of the hoardes of Brookes/Daniels at Tannum Sands.
He realized his dream of travel, and had several trips to Europe, Great Britain and in latter years, Vietnam. His first grand-daughter Alei Belle was born in Toulouse, France, so that was a good excuse for Kate and Ross to spend precious time with Mara and Greig. He then visited Northern France and Belgium where he spent 3 months painting a series of 40 art pieces relating to the 1st World War. This has been exhibited many times in the Local Area, Brisbane, The Gold Coast and some country towns. This collection is still available for exhibition.
He was devoted to his wife Kathy, his daughter Mara, her husband Greig and his grandchildren Alei and Henna whom he and Kathy had recently visited in America. Even in the last few years when his health was failing, his enthusiasm was as great as ever, and he continued living life to the full without complaint. It was his habit to advise others complaining about what he considered unimportant matters to ‘build a bridge and get over it’.
Ross will be very much missed by his family and friends, and as is evidenced by the number of people here to pay their respects today, he will be missed by the whole Emu Park community.