Celebration of life for ‘extraordinary’ Saul
David Saul was described at a celebration of his life this afternoon as a “giant of a man” and a “wonderful father, grandfather and man” who left his mark on all those who met him.
A memorial service for the 77-year-old former premier, who died on Monday, took place at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton, where mourners heard touching tributes to an individual said to have excelled at everything he did, be it athletics, politics, business, adventuring or — most important of all to him — being with his family.
Dr Saul's daughter, Robin, shared with those gathered the 13 most important lessons she learnt from her father. She opened with: “Be honest, be brave and be adventurous.”
The final lesson was: “Be active. Run, and if you can't run, cycle, and if you can't cycle, swim, and if you can't do any of these, it might be time to call it quits. And that is OK.”
A famously fit and energetic individual, Dr Saul suffered two strokes in the last two months of his life.
Robin said: “David was as brave and dignified in life as he was in death. It is difficult to wrap my head around the last few months. I wouldn't wish that pain, heartache and suffering on anyone. But I am consoled knowing ‘this too shall pass'.
“But enough about that. He wouldn't want us to wallow in grief. I want you all to remember him as the larger than life character he was, who gave generously of his time and looked for very little in return.”
She added: “David was a wonderful, father, grandfather and man. These past 44 years spent with David as my father have been an honour. I will not stand at a grave and weep. I will look out to the ocean and smile and remember David with all the pride and love I have, as should you.”
Businessman and friend James Gibbons delivered the eulogy, describing Dr Saul as a disciplined, mentally tough, intense, honest and determined person. “He always left a mark on people. It was impossible to miss him when he was around.”
He said Dr Saul was a “ruthless competitor” who was proud of his accomplishments but he added: “His family was number one and he loved you more than anything. He was proud of you all, more than anything else he ever did.”
Former Cabinet secretary Leo Mills, a former colleague and friend of Dr Saul, recalled a “giant of a man” and an “unforgettable character”.
Mr Mills said: “It was not he that sought the spotlight — it was just that he seemed to excel at just about anything and everything to which he turned his hand and his attention.”
Dr Saul's wife, Christine, read the W.H. Auden poem Funeral Blues, pausing for a moment before delivering the famous lines: “I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.”
His son, Jonathan, read from Ecclesiastes 3 and the service concluded with words of comfort from the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, who described Dr Saul as “extraordinary, indefatigable”.
Noting that runners are signing up today for the May 24 half-marathon, which Dr Saul ran countless times, Mr Dill said: “He ran the race, he finished the course, his time had come.”
Today's service was attended by the Governor, John Rankin, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, former premier Sir John Swan and other past and present Cabinet ministers.
Dr Saul was buried at sea on Thursday.