By Kath Gannaway
Peter Kimberley was excited about the prospects of being inducted to the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees when he spoke with the Mail back in April.
It fitted to a tee his more than 30-year commitment to volunteering in areas where he could make a difference.
As chair of Upper Yarra Community Enterprise since 2010, Peter’s role with the Warburton and Yarra Junction Bendigo Community banks made a huge difference in the part of the Yarra Valley that he and his wife Sue retired to in 2007.
They were flying home from the Kiwanis International Convention in Paris in July following his induction when he took ill on the plane. He passed away in Dubai on 18 July.
His death was a sad, cruel shock to his family, friends and colleagues.
It was a life, however, to be celebrated, and at a service in Ringwood on 4 August 2017, Peter was remembered for all the attributes that made him a much-loved, liked and respected family man, businessman and community worker.
He was the second of Eric and Gwen Kimberley’s four children, and with siblings Margaret, Sue and Dave, grew up in a secure and happy home, initially in Balwyn before moving to Ringwood.
Margaret said Peter’s natural ability with maths was evident from an early age. He was dux in his final year of primary school and was the always-reliable sibling.
She said her brother’s patience and kindness was also evident from when he was quite young and continued throughout his life.
David Richards, OAM, also paid tribute saying the foundations of their lifelong friendship were laid on 4 February, 1958, when as 11-year-olds they started at Ringwood High School.
He told of their teenage years, honing each other’s competitive spirit through games such as cards, chess and monopoly where the best of three became the best of five, then seven; their best effort – best of 39 finishing at 3am.
Peter won a Commonwealth scholarship to Melbourne University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science majoring in mathematics.
After graduation, in 1967, he joined National Mutual where he worked for 32 years including holding many senior positions.
It was also where he met the love of his life, Sue.
They married in 1973, and after some time in Brisbane where Peter had been posted to set up the Queensland Actuarial Department, returned to Melbourne with their eldest son Chris, and with baby Simon on the way.
Following a very successful career, Peter took early retirement, taking the opportunity to move into a whole new period in his life.
In 1980, he joined Kiwanis where his involvement included establishing a dairy farm in Timor Leste and being part of the Kiwanis Eliminate Project which aims to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus in more than 40 countries.
“It is a matter of great regret to so many that Kiwanis has been deprived of Peter’s leadership, skills and commitment,” David said.
Peter and Sue had hardly settled in to their Warburton home before he joined the local community bank, being elected deputy chair in his first year and chair two years later.
“An astounding way with numbers immediately drew Peter to our Hydro Electricity Project,” UYCEL executive officer, Geoff Vickers said.
“His input was essential to bringing the project to its current ‘shovel ready’ status.
He said Peter had embraced his role as chair with characteristic enthusiasm and was a highly valued participant in deliberation at the highest levels of Bendigo Bank.
“His influence on our company was significant, and he affected the culture of the organisation in ways that will be long-lasting,” Mr Vickers said.
Fellow board member Jim Child said Peter’s death had been devastating.
“Everyone admired him, he was such a positive person for the community and always ready to sit and discuss the pros and cons of a proposal and come to a good decision.”
Among a full and productive life, Peter enjoyed many interests, among them Essendon Football Club, skiing, golf, live theatre and travel … and, naturally, Sudoku.
David shared numerous anecdotes of his friend’s amusing and endearing adventures, including travelling the Melbourne rail network, visiting every station in one day and sharing a lifetime ambition of playing golf together in Scotland and Ireland.
Peter was a loving and very proud husband, father and grandfather who delighted in talking about his beloved grandsons, Josh and Ollie.
He was remembered as a remarkable man who made a difference, who was patient and kind, happy, warm, loving, thoughtful, considerate, intelligent, compassionate … and who leaves an invaluable legacy of friendship and achievement.