Farewell to a likeable lad
By HUGH KEARNEY
FAMILY, friends and work colleagues filled the Murwillumbah All Saints Anglican Church to overflowing yesterday as they paid their final respects to Deon Chrisostomos.
The likeable young man, aged 31, who worked as a butcher at Coles, died tragically last Friday night in a head-on collision on the Tweed Valley Way at Tumbulgum, on his way home to Uki after DJ-ing a 50th birthday at Cudgen Leagues Club.
Mourners included his parents Chris and Denise Chrisostomos, his sister Sonia, grandparents Maria and Bill, and Deon's long-term partner Nicole Duyker. His coffin was adorned with flowers, a portrait of Deon and a sporting portrait of him playing cricket.
Tweed mayor Warren Polglase and representatives from Deon's sporting world as well as from the Australian Army Reserve 41 Battalion attended the funeral.
Delivering the eulogy yesterday, his uncle Phillip, speaking on behalf of the family, said Deon was a hard-working, honest young man who was an amalgam of the beliefs and cultures of his Greek background and his Australian upbringing.
"He was a quiet, shy kid, who got the simple things right and was respected by all who were associated with him," Phillip said.
Deon, he said, was known for his love of animals and his love of sport.
"Whether it was basketball, football, cricket or soccer, he gave 110 per cent."
Phillip said Deon's love for animals was shared by his partner of 10 years, Nicole, and the couple had made their home on land at Uki where they could have their dogs, cats and chickens.
Phillip told the congregation the story of one of Deon's infamous crabbing trips that went wrong when he almost lost his dad's outboard motor, and of the time he was supposed to look after a close friend's two sheep.
He said fate had decided Deon would be on earth a short time.
"We are grateful for the time we had with him, but it has left us unsatisfied, wanting more."
Phillip said the Chrisostomos family was grateful for and strengthened by the overwhelming show of support by the community since Deon's death.
The funeral service conducted by All Saints parish priest Father Harry Reuss included a Greek Orthodox memorial service by Father Roman Stergiou of St Anna's parish, Gold Coast.
As a mark of community respect to the family, the funeral cortege passed along Main Street through the Murwillumbah town centre, on its way to the Tweed Lawn Cemetery at Duranbah.