My beautiful cousin, I miss you so much and not a day goes by that I don't think about you and how much you mean to me. I believe that you are an earth angel and that you taught every person you ever met a valuable lesson that they needed to learn. For me it was to believe in myself, no matter what others think. To have confidence and strength and to live life to its fullest. I remember being a young girl when you came to Sydney to visit, you read Anna and I Tinker Bell, you had to leave early but promised you would come back to finish the story and you did, you came back after many years and completed the story of us. You always said that you were my number one fan and gave me much courage to overcome many challenges. You said things to me that I will never forget and often recall to get me through life. You understood me and we would often share our fiery Scorpio passion for things. You were hilarious and always made me laugh with your witty comebacks and our quick coffees were never that, they went for hours and hours, neither of us would want to leave. The last coffee we shared together was at DJ's in Bondi Junction, it was the last time I saw you. Wally called to see if you were still coming to pick him up, we had been sitting there for 5 hours and only drank three coffees between us. We spoke about life and family and celebrity gossip and it was all fabulous and juicy and I may even write that book one day. By far the best coffee I have ever had. You always put others before yourself and never complained about how sick you really were. You fought with such grace, dignity and strength and did it your way. I only hope that I grow to be half the woman that you were. I know you are watching over all of us. Know that you will always be a very important part of who I am. I love you and will cherish our beautiful memories forever. Love Melissa Klioris.
The last conversation we had in this life, was you telling me how much you loved me and how I was and will always be 'your little sister'... beautiful words from an incredible beautiful woman. You spared me the pain of knowing what was going on with you and still in those moments you were thinking about me. You looked after me when I was teenager and taught me many things, things that I use on a daily basis as an adult, and I am so glad I got to spend those precious moments of life with you. I remember when you first got your yellow convertible beetle, it was a manual and we bunny hopped everywhere until you finally mastered 4 on the floor. How we laughed when we would be pulling away from a group of people, trying to look really cool, with the roof down, the beach boys blaring on the stereo, and us, bunny hopping away, trying not to laugh blaming the car. I remember when we use to go down to the beach playing catch with baseball gloves wanting to play baseball so badly, finally you came to me one Sunday morning and said the local club are having try-outs today, lets go. We were so excited heading down to the club with our gloves and hearts pounding with excitement. We get to the club and walk up to the desk, the coach looks up and says 'how can I help you ladies', you excitedly hold in your hand the advertisement and say to him, 'we are here to try out for the team', ...we both are beaming our smiles stretched across our entire faces. When he says 'sorry these tryouts are only for males, '. You quickly say to him, 'that's okay we don't mind', we both look at eachother and laugh. He says 'no you don't understand, no girls play in this league'. Within a second you say holding up the paper, 'it doesn't say males only in the ad, we are here to tryout!'. And then I desperately add 'we can run, hit and throw better than any male on the team'. You look at me and give me that famous wink and thumbs up signal. The coach looks at us, sees how desperate we are and says, 'okay go out there if you miss one ball your out'. We walk out to the field so excited, saying to him, no worries, we won't let you down. And then you turn to me and say 'shit what the #*** are we going to do', then within the same breathe you say in your most optimistic voice, 'we are going to do this and catch every bloody ball. lets do it Gertos.' And as you can imagine, we caught every ball hit at us, petrified but loving it. We made the team and were the first and only girls in the history of the league, we played for 2 seasons and loved every minute of it, we cheered eachother on, encouraged eachother to be the best we could be. It was awesome, a very special time in my life, that I will never forget. You taught me to stand strong in what I believed and not back down, no matter what the situation. The club changed its rule book after that and made sure they highlighted the , 'males only teams' passage. I am so glad we got to reconnect in this life and look forward to connecting in the next. Love you deeply your little sister.....Atalanti xxxx
My thoughts and prayers are with Wally and Rebecca's family who lost a wonderful person from this world. In my memories with Becky, she was a warm, witty and strong both physically and spiritually. I am happy to have known Rebecca and enjoy good times together with her. Please accept my condolences. Sincerely, Julie LaFon, Delaware, USA
My lovely cousin Bec "Oh what a night" you said recently after our wonderful evening out together under the Melbourne stars. Just the two of us chatting away. And then we started with "Remember when..." and "Wasn't it great...". You always remembered those precious moments in our lives. I can't believe you remembered me doing a cartwheel down The Avenue! I remember our enchanting childhood with sleepovers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolates (with whipped cream on top, our favourite). I remember teaching ourselves to crochet in your lounge room and you laughing so hard when I miraculously made a bootie! I remember our part-time jobs at Safeway as check-out chicks, and when you accidentally rang up one million dollars on the till. I couldn't stop laughing. But then that's what you did, you always made me laugh. I remember our tennis matches and the endless summer holidays spent at Glencairn Tennis Club with the gang. You were so beautiful in your tennis gear and your Dunlop Vollies. I remember you loveliness, joy, generosity and effervescence. You are a true, genuine, loving person and I admire you so much for that. We said on that night out recently how blessed we are to have each other in this world. To be loved by each other, so true. We said we are sisters. We are. I am aching but I am also rejoicing in our most wonderful life together. I will never forget you. You are in my heart always. Your Helen
My Darling Bexii who I am going to miss so much. What fun we had when we first met all those years ago at Elders FInance. Lunch time shops and eating turkey and cranberry sandwiches from Schwabs. Lots of laughing, it was amazing what we found funny. Over the years, daily phone calls to catch up on each others day. Of course, meeting gorgeous Wally, and the good times we had eating out, going to the races, having dinner parties, and going to concerts! Greg and I having our visits to Sydney to see Bec and Wally. Generally starting at Icebergs and ending late in the evening with the boys listening to 'Bruce' at top volume, while Bec and I snuggled up in her bed and chatted while watching cable tv. Sharing our woes with each other. Being there for each other in the not so good days and the bad news days. Watching my friends wonderful ability to always pick herself up - 'onwards and upwards' - and get on with living life as fully as she possibly could. Bec had a wonderful sense of style and a fantastic ability to combine designer with the latest look in the local shop. She always looked a million dollars. No one ever guessed that she had cancer, because she always looked so glamerous. Bec was wonderful with children and our two girls, Stephanie and Alannah adored her. Wally and Bec are Steph's Godparents, and how wonderfully they carried out their role of godparents. Bec always made Steph feel very loved and special as her Godmother, and Steph was always thrilled when Bec joined me at school pick when she was in Melbourne. My wonderful friend, there is a huge gap in my life without you, but I am so happy that you now have no more pain, after your most courageous fight with cancer. You carried yourself with so much grace and I admired you so much. I have told the girls you are now in heaven and looking over all of us. Love you gorgeous girl xx Bec
One would think I knew Wally and Rebecca well personally for the way my heart ached when I received the news of her passing. I only learned this year of her illness as well as her prior battles and victories, and I had no idea passing from this life to the next was so imminent. Your eulogy as well as your words in our prior note are so beautiful and strong not just about your love for your beautiful wife, best friend and partner in this life and no doubt your beautiful wife, best friend, partner in your future eternal life, as they are equally strong and gracious about your Faith in God. Your words moved me to smile through my tears. Albeit far too short, You and Rebecca were clearly blessed with a wonderful, loving life together. As Rebecca is painfree in Heaven, I pray that you are blessed with continued strength and patience through the grieving process so that you will be at peace in your life to be happy in time with wonderful thoughts and memories of Rebecca til you meet again for eternity. I enjoyed reading about your mom and Rebecca...with their personalities, I could so imagine them chatting and laughing up a storm when they first met, as I picture they are right now. I always loved your mom. She was so sweet and sooo much fun to be with. And It didn’t take knowing Rebecca but for a moment to be fond of her, and everyone surely was. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you and Rebecca... My most sincere love and condolences, Alison ps: thank you for sharing the pics w/ ash and guy...we will treasure them and the wonderful gift of time, friendship, love and laughs you and Rebecca gave to them.
I can still hear Rebecca chatting now....We would always go at it non- stop....Daaaaarling was one of her most endearing words.......Gossip, reality shows , fashion, dogs , shopping were all regular conversations......Loved eating with the whole family....They made us feel like family.....Never forget Wally's ribs!!!!.....OMG.....we all sat there chowing down filling up the silver bowl with the remnants of those bones that were sucked dry......We all know how to eat....I did drink too much that night and had to fly to Brisbane the next morning....oh dear....I did make it though.... Will miss her glam looks and fashion tips.....as well as her ability to make you laugh............Rebecca, Wally and Linda are so welcoming and have always made me feel special.....I love them all lots xoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxo
In her too-short forty-five years, many knew Rebecca as her friend, both here in Australia and in the United States. She the touched the lives of everyone she met through her grace, dignity, humor, courage and, most of all, her love, kindness and elegance. I treasure the memory of the first time that we met. We were seated next to one another at a dinner informally organized by a mutual American friend at the Botanical Hotel in South Yarra (Melbourne). Since she had recently dated a lawyer, Rebecca later told me she was disappointed to be sitting next to me - using a word to describe lawyers that is not really appropriate to use here in Church. However, as the night wore on, we struck-up a conversation - which, as you will all know, was always very easy to do with Rebecca - and quickly developed a strong friendship over the coming weeks and months. Bec was always proud to say we became friends before embarking on our romantic relationship. When I finally struck up the courage to ask her out on a date – it was to a Midnight Oil concert on June 4th, 1993 in Melbourne. I learned later that she hated Midnight Oil, but had agreed to date me that Saturday night only because she was also attracted to me. I remember like it was yesterday the first time we held hands at a pub in St. Kilda after the show and I finally worked up the courage for our first kiss. Our love quickly blossomed and at the end of a weekend that November with our friends at Phillip Island, I proposed to Bec on a glorious sunny day on a beautiful beach asking if she would do me the honor of meeting my parents in New Jersey that Christmas as my fiancée. I am forever grateful that she was able to meet my mother, Dolores, as my wife-to-be. It was the only time she was able to spend with her as my mother passed away suddenly the following April. Rebecca said that she was never more nervous than before meeting my mother. Of course, with Rebecca’s calm, warm and reassuring demeanor, she never showed any signs of nerves. Once we had finally arrived at my parent’s home in New Jersey, Bec and my mother, each of whom I should say had been blessed with the gift of gab, were up until the wee hours of the morning chatting. During her final days Rebecca and I fondly recalled that time together as one of the best times of our lives Rebecca joined me in April 1994 to fly back to the US for my mother’s funeral. Like a lot of the times in my life, I would have never been able to make it through that difficult time without Rebecca’s love and support. Thankfully, before her passing, Rebecca and my mother were able to speak often as my parents took on the responsibility of visiting the various wedding reception venues in New Jersey and reporting back to us. Rebecca was a real trooper working hard to organize our wedding from halfway around the world, even though almost all of the attendees were my family and friends. Rebecca and I were first married in a civil ceremony in Melbourne in May 1994. This was so that her many friends and family in Melbourne, that could not attend our Church wedding in the US, could celebrate our marriage in Australia. As evidence of their longstanding love for Rebecca, I am very thankful that a number of our friends from Melbourne that attended our Australian wedding are able to also join us here today. We received the sacrament of matrimony at our Catholic wedding held on January 14, 1995 at my university Chapel. We were blessed by an unusually warm January day by New Jersey standards, and the service and reception was attended by over 120 family members and friends. After relocating back to the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell, following our marriage, Bec and I lived in an apartment on Broadway on the upper West-side of Manhattan. She tried to recommence her career as a fashion buyer, but could not find a suitable position in New York City. Of course, with her natural energy and effervescent personality she was offered several positions, but consistent with how she lived all of her life, Rebecca always put others before her and said she did not wish to spend evenings and weekends working as she preferred to look after me – which I can assure you was a full-time job. Throughout her surgeries and chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, and even in her last weeks, Rebecca insisted on driving me to work each morning and picking me up each evening. An example of Rebecca’s tremendous warmth and kindheartedness were the relationships she struck with the doormen at our apartment and with the Pakistani news agent outside of our building on Broadway. Because of the kindness and the respect with which she treated everyone, I was always amazed how our doormen were willing to waive deposits and other fees for deliveries and removals of furniture. Out of her kindness and warmth, she used to discuss cricket with the Pakistani news agent. As many of you know, Rebecca did not care for cricket or most other sports - other than insofar it came up in one of her favorite pastimes, which was reading the gossip magazines that come out on Mondays. Everyone who met Rebecca felt immediately at ease with her. She used to complain about how strangers she had just met would inevitably open up to her with their personal problems. Those who knew Rebecca thought the world of her - she was an incredible woman. I believe that one of my good friends in the United States summed it up perfectly – she said she had never met anyone in her life with so much class, yet was also so down to earth. She had such a wonderful sense of humor, such a big heart and was so, so very brave. You can have only one best friend in this world, and I am proud to say that Rebecca called me her’s, but you can be the best friend of many. A testament to the love and adoration in which she is held are the number of people here who called Rebecca their best friend, myself included. Bec was one of the brightest and thoughtful people that I ever met, and she had a true zest for life. Although she discontinued her buying career when we moved to New York, there is no doubt that Bec could have chosen a number of successful vocations: For example, she spoke often about writing a children’s book that she was going to call “George from Paddo”. She used to recite the stories she had come up with, and I will forever regret that I never recorded them. They centered on our dog George, who was a talking boxer who could speak with other animals and then tell us what they were thinking and feeling. When one of my law school friends from the US called and asked if we could assist his young daughter with her “Flat Stanley” school project, Rebecca jumped in heart and soul. Flat Stanley was a paper cut-out and the project was for each student to post him to a family member or friend in another country and have that person return Flat Stanley with a description of his travels and adventures. After presenting the project to her class, my friend and his daughter called to thank Bec for creating the best presentation, not just because of her description of Flat Stanley’s journey through Sydney in an entertaining manner for children, but for depicting the journey in such an elaborate and detailed manner. The teacher was impressed that she had a friend in Australia who was so willing to help, also noting the various Aussie memorabilia that Bec included in her package to illustrate Flat Stanley’s adventures, such as a stuffed koala and a post card of a surfing kangaroo. Bec made an 8 year old very proud, and left the entire class in awe – this led to the teacher introducing Australia to the class, including a geography lesson which we know all American children need! My friends were delighted they had a friend like Bec who was willing to expend such significant effort helping their young daughter and her class in such a meaningful way. Flat Stanley’s Australian journey was the hit of the class and is still talked about by my friends’ daughter, who cried when she was recently told of Bec’s passing. I always told Bec that she would have been an extremely successful real estate agent. We spent upwards of a year searching to buy a home, before ultimately purchasing here in Paddington. She must have looked at over a hundred houses. I have no doubt that the combination of her bubbly personality and thoughtfulness, combined with her voracious appetite for scouring the newspapers for home sale prices, would have made Rebecca a unique and popular real estate agent. Everyone knows that Rebecca was also tremendously stylish and always carried herself with elegance. She spent a lot of time at auction houses and threw her heart and energy into turning our home in Paddington, which hopefully most of you will visit after this Mass, into her vision of a perfect Victorian terrace home. However, she was always on the lookout for that one “final piece” and particularly loved chandeliers and all things French. [LOOK UP] Bec - I’m sorry for putting my foot down when you wanted to hang a chandelier in our master bathroom! She also loved automobiles and always chided me on my lack of knowledge of the different European models. I never heard the end of it when I referred to Porsche as an Italian car! Honey – I’m sorry that I never bought you that new SUV you so wanted for so long and I hope that you will not hold that against me when your opinion is sought on judgment day! Finally, there is no doubt that Bec would have been a popular comedian. Everyone commented on her magnificent sense of humor and ability to make people laugh without consciously trying. She used to always ask – “why are people laughing at me?” I would tell her – it’s because you are very funny - but you don’t understand - they are not laughing at you, but they are laughing with you! Because she was always so stylish and immaculately presented many assumed that Bec was “high maintenance”. However, Bec was very practical, hated paying full price for anything and always on a look-out for a bargain. An example of her practicality was that she wanted to purchase a set of wireless headphones for me to watch and listen to our lounge room TV, but they cost several hundred dollars here in Australia. Despite her exhaustion and pain when were in Los Angeles a few weeks ago on the way back from our trip to visit oncologists in the United States, she insisted on going to a shopping mall in Los Angeles where she could purchase wireless headphones at Brookstone for less than a hundred dollars. She delighted in telling the salesman that she needed them so that she did not have to hear the “boom, boom, boom” from our lounge room TV when I watched my Bruce Springsteen DVDs on Friday and Saturday nights. Honey – you will never have to listen to another Bruce Springsteen song, at least until I hopefully join you again some day! My life with Rebecca was better than anything I could have ever imagined when I first traveled to Australia in 1992. The courage and bravery that she exhibited in her fight against breast cancer was the greatest inspiration in my life. I have been truly blessed for the 18 years that God gave me with Rebecca and realize that God’s gift of matrimony became stronger and stronger as each year passed. I know the Lord has a place in heaven for Rebecca - I only hope and pray that I will be able to join her someday to spend eternity together.