1000 people say final farewell to much-loved Kyogle man
MALCOLM WALLIS loved Kyogle. And the town loved him back.
Nowhere was that more evident than at his funeral as more than 1000 people came to say goodbye, people spilling from the doorways of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.
Yet in death, as in life, Kyogle's favourite tourism officer made people laugh.
His sister, Barbara Wallis, said what everyone was thinking;
He was gone too soon. At 56 years of age, he suffered a sudden heart attack two weeks ago.
There were words repeated throughout the funeral service: genuine, positive, real, honest, warm, trustworthy, full of integrity and gentle.
His big sister by three years and one day, said Malcolm was a scrawny Queensland boy who returned again and again to Kyogle until he finally settled there.
"We all know about Malcolm's positive attitude and gentleness and his passion for this town," she said. "We'll miss his big smile, his humour and funny turn of phrase."
Malcolm's mother, Shelia, died when Malcolm was only seven months old and his father Billy returned to military service, so Aunt Molly raised him and sister Barbara.
"He was a tiny, sickly baby who became a mad rugby player and coach," Barbara said.
"There were few sports Malcolm didn't love."
He met his wife Alison at a dance at the Kyogle Golf Club in 1986. Eagle Rock was playing and Allison fell over in front of him. Barbara recalls Malcolm telling the story and saying; "I've never had a girl fall at my feet before."
He made everyone he met feel special and had a nickname for most people he knew. His nicknames were Mal, Wal or Malfunction.
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland and the council's general manager Graham Kennett spoke at the funeral.
Living the dream was Malcolm's mantra and the town's slogan - Come for a day, Stay for a Lifetime - was all his work, Mr Kennet said.
In 2006, Malcolm became Kyogle's first official tourism officer and in 2011 he was Citizen of the Year in Kyogle.
He gave the best hugs, his sister said, through her tears.
Malcolm Wallis 18/6/61-16/1/18. Survived by wife Allsion Wallis and sons Brenton and Kaleb.