By Ray Carroll
IAN Benjamin of Wallan lost a very tough cancer battle earlier this month.
A large assemblage at The Grove, Hidden Valley, on Tuesday last week celebrated the life and times of a devoted family man, astute business operator and highly-talented sportsman who starred for Wallan Football Club and is remembered as a Riddell Football League ‘great’.
The eulogy by Dean Fitzpatrick was a fine one, covering the many aspects of a life well lived. Schooldays, marriage to Marion, raising a family, business ventures and sporting exploits were extolled with touches of humour thrown in.
Moving tributes came from son Adam, grandchildren Paige, Brody, Hamish and Campbell. Life reflections were provided by long-time friends Ian Chaney, Neal Langbourne and Stuart Broomfield. Each had a host of stories to tell and tributes to provide.
Neal Langbourne, himself a Wallan footy stalwart, detailed Ian’s brilliant on-field play, which was rewarded with premierships, club and league decorations.
Ian’s wife Marion, in a newspaper tribute, spoke as follows:
“The one and only love of my life has passed away peacefully after a brave fight at home. The final siren has sounded and the only thing that could have separated us regretfully has. I know you had to leave first to arrange things for us to be reunited. My eternal love forever.”
Ian and Marion had three children – Kylie, Adam and Kane. Both Kylie and Adam attended Assumption College Kilmore with distinction. Adam played a record 84 games for the First XVIII and was drafted by Geelong in 1994. Circumstances did not see him proceed to the club. Kylie, a vivacious person, is married to Ross Johns, who captained the college’s 1992 premiership XVII. Adam’s wife, Michelle, also an ex student, is a fine young lady. Kane, the youngest of Ian and Marion’s three children lives in Benalla.
Ian Benjamin was born in 1951. He is survived by his loving wife, three children and four grandchildren. He was also a loved brother to Kaye and Les (dec). Les was also a brilliant footballer.
Mr Benjamin moved to Wallan in the late 1960s from Reservoir.
He captain-coached Wallan’s first Riddell District Football League premiership in 1977, and played in the club’s 1985 first division premiership.
Mr Benjamin was a four-time best and fairest at Wallan, a RDFL Bowen Medal winner, a league representative player and won the league goal-kicking award.