The Edmondson Blog

Highlights from Pop's Funeral Oration

Ronald Edmondson. But nobody has ever called him that. When he was young his family called him Bun. Without exception, his friends called him Eddy. And we at home always called him Pop.

He was born in Liverpool on 28 September 1917, the only son with three sisters, Norah, Mui and Mai. He left school at 14 and went to work as a tea boy and messenger for Liverpool Corporation and while there trained as surveyor.

Pop fought in North Africa and Italy and received a battlefield commission at Monte Cassino, after all his officers had been killed or wounded.

Thankfully, he came back from War whole, uninjured, and in good spirits.

He also brought back with him a knowledge of an entirely new and unknown technology that he had seen in the secret war-time research department of Alfa Romeo in Turin – plastics injection moulding.

With what he had learnt, he built his first moulding machine – he was adamant that it was the first operational screw injection moulding machine in the world – and he always said he would have patented the idea if he hadn’t stolen it in the first place!

In 1968 we almost lost him to a heart attack and in 1987 he had another. His cardiologist suggested a by-pass operation but warned that because of his age – 70 – there was a slight chance of triggering Alzheimer’s Disease. And so it was.

Alzheimers is a cruel disease and his memory relentlessly faded, like the curtain slowly coming down prematurely on some grand and magnificent opera, but not smoothly and quickly, but jerkily and intermittently but always relentlessly.

Seven years ago he went into the special care at Sunrise Senior Living who have treasured him and cared for him as he just faded away in all meanings of the word, his memory, his strength, his appetite, his weight, his magic.

Ma visited him regularly and was with him Thursday two-weeks ago and sensed the end was near. She gently told him it was time to go. And so it was. He passed away the next day, 5 weeks short of their 65th wedding anniversary and a couple of months short of his 90th birthday.

Pop had a fabulous sense of humour and enjoyed laughing and making the people around him laugh, too. I do not recall him as a “teller of jokes” but he was always up for what he called a sky-lark.

I recall when James and Russell were very young we were travelling by train as a family and Pop took the boys off for an explore. Five or ten minutes later the whole train was treated to the three of them singing The Pop Club song – “Pop goes the weasel” over the public address system. It caused great laughter through the entire train, and the poor guard, who had been at the very far end came running through to end this outrage.

Pop’s plastics businesses and the foundations they provided have brought untold material wealth. For a family that started off in a tiny terraced house – with an outside privvy and the bath in the kitchen – on the Progress Estate in Eltham we have come an extraordinary long way.

But to make great store of this is to miss the point. This Golden Age – this magical time – is more about the attitudes, beliefs and the headlines ... being passed on. I look at Ma and Pop’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren and truly, their lives and those of the generations yet to come have been touched by Pop’s magic. And I hope in some little way that magic has reached out and touched the wider circle of friends around him.

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