Stocker-Lohmann-French-Buch Eulogy for Uncle Arthur
Arthur Edmund Sedgwick Ruckert
5 November 1930 – 25 July 2022
My role today is to pay tribute to a man known as ‘Uncle Arthur’, in regards to the four families which extended out on the family tree from the Ruckerts. Arthur Edmund Sedgwick Ruckert was a family man through all of his relations. His legacy has been the time he invested in family and his true love, Jenny. He was a companion to many, a friend to all he met, the character of the great Uncle, to become a widower for many years, and you were always family to him.
How it came about that many families would have an Uncle Arthur, not just four but, I am sure, several more, is a complex history. So, I will simplify the story for you. It begins with two sisters. One was Isabel Payne, Aunty Bell, Arthur’s mother. Aunty Bell had married Paul Otto Ruckert and there were to be three great Australian lads: Paul, Fred, and Arthur. They were the three family legends, and, as we Australians say, ‘bigger than life.’ With Arthur’s passing, we celebrate that family history.
The other sister was Ethel Payne, and they had a short time with another sister, Winifred, who died in her youth. The two sisters, Aunty Bell and Aunty Ethel, had just over six decades together, and they were the joy for the Ruckert and Stocker families. Aunty Ethel had married Jakob Stocker. And as a Swiss migrant it was something different in the long line of British Australians. The couple had James who died in infancy in 1920, then Edward who died in childhood, and then Betty in 1933. Peter Trevor and Margaret Ann became the other children, with Peter as the eldest, and Margaret, who is known now as Peg, was the youngest. This was in a process of adoption, and that is also an experience within the Buch family. They are not my stories to tell, but the point from the historian is only that they are important family stories that should be affirmed in love, a form of truth-telling in kindness.
The joy in our collective families, and with the pain that has to be expected, is that we are all affirmed across the collected families. The story here, today, suggests that the youngest of the three Ruckert lads, Uncle Arthur, had a spirit about him that quietly created a family legacy for us all. He was a quiet observer, and he knew what to say in the family conversation which was the great spirt of kindness and gentleness.
So how is it that I became the narrator of the story, one story among many? Betty Stocker, Arthur’s cousin, married Vic Lohmann in 1955 and they had Diane who died in infancy, Mark in 1958, and Ruth in 1961 – Ruth, my late wife and dearest life companion. Ruth and I have two daughters, Genevievre and Marguerite, who also shared an Uncle Arthur. Indeed, they are the most recent for our families. For many decades, there was Uncle Arthur for Sharon, the daughter of Peg and Graham French, and for Caitlyn and Darani, daughters of Peter Stocker and Jennifer Jordan. We were all cousins across the generations, but Uncle Arthur was Uncle Arthur. He bonded family together. It did not matter how we were related; we were all family to Arthur. I recall the pain in Arthur’s eyes in the passing of Jenny, Vic, Fred, Peter, Paul, and Ruth. He was one with us.
It was the same, however, in joyful days of living. There are stories which Ruth, Betty, Peg, and Sharon have told me over the years about Uncle Arthur. Arthur was one of the lads, along with Peter, who joined in with the tomfoolery of the Ruckert boys. Christmases, holiday visits, and building the Stocker’s Camp Hill house were the great highlights between the families. It was during these times that Arthur’s character arose to the occasion. Fred was very interactive with the children. Paul was the well-educated cousin who travelled and who we occasionally met-up in Melbourne. Peter was also a larger-than-life figure in the family who exemplified the great wisdom of a down-to-earth engineer, matching the science-mindedness of Paul.
Arthur, however, was different. He was there at the washing-up sink, chatting with the women, and then retiring to chatter with the men on films, music, electronics, motor vehicles, Australian travels, those things which made life for his generation. I am deeply grateful for the education. Arthur had the heart of a teacher, who quietly and gently helped us all to gain new perspectives.
The education that Arthur gave me is of family. We celebrate it on these occasions of the passing of loved ones. All I can now say, with tears in my eyes, is thank you, Uncle Arthur, we love you dearly.
Image: A Young and An Old Arthur. Photos: Ruckett Family
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