Tim Jones was finally laid to rest on Saturday, January 17, almost three weeks after the tragic plane crash in which he and pilot Sam Langford perished.
The Graham Family Chapel in New Town was full to overflowing for the service, with around 100 of the 400-500 mourners spilling out into an adjoining room where they watched proceedings on large video screens.
There were maybe 50 people from the photo industry, many of whom had flown in from interstate, including the Mayor of Alice Springs, Damien Ryan; Alan Logue and Paul Atkins from Adelaide; Stan Kessanis and Alison Lyons (Standalone Design), and Barbara Bryan (PMA) from Sydney; Paul Boniface from northern NSW; Phil Gresham from Brisbane; Andrew McBriar and former Kodak Australia CEO Greg McKibben from Victoria. Friends and former retailing rivals Peter Stallard and Roy Tait were among the locals in attendance. Along with fellow retailers there were representatives from Kodak Alaris (Tim Harman), IPS (David Hill), Fujifilm (Jeff Crowley), Maxwell International (Julie Witlshire), Leading Edge Digital (James Kearney) and Angley-Arrowsmith. (Please forgive omissions – I’m writing from memory.)
The strong contingent from the industry was both a tribute to the man whose life they had come to commemorate and the close-knit nature of the photographic community.
Perhaps because the three-week delay before the funeral could take place had given friends and family time to get over the initial shock, or perhaps because those who knew Tim were behaving as they thought he would have wanted, there were few tears.(I could imagine him saying, ‘Jesus, man up guys!’ if things became too too maudlin.) Strong emotion, but few tears.
Instead we had Tim’s brother, his sister, business colleagues, and childhood friends stand up and bear heartfelt witness to the disparate aspects of his life and character.
Perhaps the most poignant statement was from Tim’s son, Rob, who simply said: ‘Dad was the kind of man I aspire to be.’ Could any man want for a finer tribute? I’d settle for that.
We learned that Tim came over from Wales at the age of seven. That he was a keen photographer from a young age. That billycarts without brakes could have been the death of him 50 years earlier. That he was running a baby-sitting service with 120 client families as a teenager. That he worked for the TVT6 photo division before opening Perfect Prints. That he was a big Leonard Cohen fan, and played Lennie albums in the store almost exclusively for a couple of years. That the wine component of a restaurant bill should always, in Tim’s opinion, be greater than the food component. That he was a loyal friend and great fun. But most of us new that already.
There was a magnificent slide show which tracked Tim’s progress from mop-haired young lad, to young father, through to recent times.
As the coffin was being carried to the hearse, Leonard Cohen’s wonderfully bawdy and irreverent ‘Closing Time’ rang out loud, along with the haunting traditional ballad, ‘The Parting Glass’.
Many of those who attended the funeral, including most of the visiting photo industry people, were then taken by bus to the The Lark Distillery, near the waterfront. This was Tim’s Friday evening watering hole. Reminiscences, jokes, goodwill and industry gossip were swapped in the Hobart sunshine.
It was a wonderful day. The only thing missing was our dear friend.