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In Memory of Noel ‘Tick’ Mansfield

22 May, 2024

Noel Mansfield, or ‘Tick’ as he was commonly called, was a born and bred Barcaldine man from a family long associated with Barcaldine. He was a quiet man, but one who could be found behind the scenes serving his community in so many different ways – on the parish council, looking after the money at the fair, moving a bed or digging a garden if that was needed.  He did so much, quietly and without fuss. He deeply loved his wife and family: Donna, Pat and Rachel, Senan and Ethan.  We extend our prayers and condolences to them and thank God for this great and good man.

Homily given by Fr Matthew Moloney at Tick’s funeral

Wisdom 3:1-9, Timothy 4:6-8, Matthew 5:14-16
Funeral Mass, Sacred Heart Church, 8-4-24

It has been a long journey for Noel, a man who we all knew as Tick. He finally retired and was set to do all the things in retirement that you do. However, other things were install for him and his journey, with his beloved Donna, Patrick, Rachel, Senan and Ethan. His diagnosis of cancer put him on another path.

When I was in the West travelling up from at first Blackall and then over from Longreach, both Tick and Donna were always there, and their faith held me as a Longreach person in Barcaldine. It was always a bit terrifying be a Thompson Tiger amidst the Barcaldine Goannas. You always know that tigers eat goannas for dinner, but I won’t go there, that’s a whole other story of which I am sure you will tell me about later.

Tick, along with you Donna, were always there amidst the ups and downs which life puts in front of you, there was something which without words spoken, a presence that said something about not one but both of you. I had never met you until a few weeks ago Patrick, but even back then I remember both your mum and dad talking of you and then talking of you in Ireland with your little family and more recently Tick fondly spoke of you all. You couldn’t miss Senan and Ethan, as their photos greeted you at the front door of their new home here in Yeppoon. A little bit of their grandad and grandma will always be in them.

Over this last year or so, I have experienced your whole family walk with you both as you managed the path ahead. I had the opportunities to simply sit with Tick at times where I saw and experienced the mark of a man who was firm in his faith and journey to his God. He wasn’t afraid and had a deep sense of God which held him and who he, also held. As our first reading speaks of, it appears their departure is regarded as disaster…but they are at peace. He was at peace, and it was humbling to walk with him and you both on this journey.

His faith was simple and real. He loved you dearly Donna and knew that his family and wider faith family would gather and support you and each other. He kept the faith as it says in our second reading and has run his race. However, when we think this is the end, it is not. Now is the time for each of you to continue the journey of faith knowing that he is with you in your hearts and the love you have for him and the love he had for each of you cannot be hidden, cannot be put out. As our Gospel says – A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. The love shared will not stop, it can only deepen.

I saw Tick just before Easter and was able to speak with him briefly and we both knew it was nearly time. I gave him a little palm cross for him to give to Donna and he put it in his pocket above his heart. Then on Easter Sunday he was on the journey home to his God and Easter Monday was his day of resurrection when he walked into the loving embrace of his God.

This story may be seen as a sad story. This story of apparent death. Just like Mary Magdalene who walked into the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning, she too was bereft and did not see what was coming. The angel said to her and says to us today, he is risen. You will see him in the sounds, stories, memories, laughter, and tears. You will see him in the little mannerisms which were his but now will be remembered and taken up in other ways by you Patrick and your little ones.

He is at rest and in peace, so too we can be at peace with the consolation of his spirit walking with us anew.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace, amen.

Fr Matthew Moloney