Richard’s Eulogy Delivered By Gerard Woods
For those whom I have not met, my name is Gerard Woods. I am a lawyer. In that capacity I have worked closely with Richard and his CITIC colleagues over the last five years.
Having heard a lot about him thorough mutual friends, I first met Richard in February 2012. It was immediately apparent that he was precocious, had a sharp intellect and had developed the Australian capacity to cut down tall poppies. He was well read, a deep thinker, eloquent and had a strongly-developed sense of justice. Our friendship was relatively brief, certainly compared to others here today, but it was intense. Leaving aside several interludes, where he didn’t like my advice and would not talk to me, we talked, emailed, texted, met, dined or travelled together most days over the last five years.
I last met with Richard and his colleagues at their office at CITIC on the afternoon of 1 February 2017. I didn’t know then it would be the last time would see him. I wish I had known. There was so much more to say. There was so much more to learn. Richard was a font of knowledge on topics as diverse as deep sea diving, to survivalism, to technology and gadgets, to hunting knives, to Star Wars paraphernalia … and I could go on. But on that particular Wednesday afternoon, after we had finished our meeting, and I had come away with a list of tasks, Richard took time out to explain to me that there was no point stressing about the work that needed to be done. He informed me that a doomsday asteroid called WF9 was going to crash into earth on 27 February and its impact would be greater than the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. So, he said, there was no point worrying too much about anything that needed to be done after that date. Little did I know that that slightly whimsical discussion would be our last.
Richard was proud to be a geologist. He had a lifetime of stories of time spent in the field in the U.K., Africa, Spain and outback Australia. He found his true calling teaming with Helen, Michelle, Chen and the team at CITIC and fighting to develop, and for the independence of, the world-class Sino Iron Project. He became an expert on abstruse topics such as equitable remedies, frustration, restitution, rectification, urgent mandatory interlocutory injunctions, costs recovery (which he hated), and he always had the right Churchillian quote for every occasion.
Richard said what he thought. He saw no reason not to say what he thought. He didn’t believe in political correctness or diplomacy. After a successful day in court in January he turned to me and said:
I hate that tie you’re wearing. Don’t go thinking that it’s your good luck tie. I never want to see it again.
Over the years Richard developed a sparring relationship with our catering services manager, Sam. Richard’s visits were the highlight of Sam’s week. She would regularly spoil him by arranging a meat pie, a sausage roll or something sweet. It was unusual for Richard to have had breakfast before a mid-morning meeting, so he greatly appreciated Sam’s treats. And in return, he would tease Sam about having to put up with so many lawyers, a profession he held in low regard. Sam’s reaction to Richard’s death, like that of many others, demonstrated that he was much more than a client or acquaintance, colleague or friend. He left a lasting impression on all those whose lives he touched. He will be missed, and his loss felt, much more than he would ever have wanted or expected.
Richard has been described as a lovable rogue. And that is a great description of him. It didn’t matter how risqué, combative, challenging or demanding he might be, there was this piercing charm and warmth that cut through all else and attracted all who knew him to his light.
To his parents, Pat and Barrie, his sisters Claire and Carol, and his former wife Helen, we grieve with you and share in your loss. To his boys, Robert and Tom, there was no achievement of which he was more proud than of being your dad. He talked about you all the time. He celebrated your successes and when you were facing challenges in your life he felt them too. It was common on a Monday morning for Richard to share with me the details of the weekend spent with you boys using the latest gaming hardware purchased from the US, or describing in great detail the virtual warfare in which the three of you had engaged. You could tell by the light in his eyes that there was nothing more important to him than being your dad.
Richard, we will miss you greatly. You have touched all of our lives. Rest in peace