In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. We enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, educate their children, save for the future and raise themselves out of poverty. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation working with microfinance institutions, you choose a borrower to support with a loan of just $5 via Kiva Zip or $25 via Kiva. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid (often in monthly instalments), you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else. Money that is loaned over and over again does more good than a one-time donation. Join 'Genealogists for Families' - together we are making a difference!

01 November 2011

Col Webster: inspiration for Genealogists for Families

Joan Miller (co-captain of 'Genealogists for Families') has asked me to write about my father, Col Webster, who was the inspiration for this project.

Col Webster at the age of 86
Colin Clifford Webster (son of William Donald Webster and Florence Hudson) was born in 1919. He was proud of the fact that he had the same address for seventy years ("Plain View", Cunnamulla, Queensland, Australia - an outback grazing property where he raised sheep and cattle). My sisters and I grew up there too. Dad loved the land and the way of life, and some of his reminiscences are in Outback Story.

In 1989 my parents moved to southeast Queensland. Before my mother died in 1996, she said, "Your father will be lonely. Promise me you'll visit him often." That was an easy promise to keep, as I was only an hour's drive away and I enjoyed Dad's company. We worked together in the garden, he taught me about birds, we swapped books and we talked for hours.

Dad was quiet, unassuming, kind and considerate, with a great sense of humour. He was a true gentleman who lived his whole life with honesty, integrity, compassion and generosity.

He loved to give away fruit, vegetables and flowers from his large garden; and he was also generous in less conventional ways. A few weeks before Christmas, Dad and I would go to the local country markets where one of the stalls sold homemade goodies to raise money for charity. Dad would pay for a Christmas cake or pudding and tell the stallholder to give it to the next person who came by.

For as long as I can remember, my father set aside a sum of money that he would periodically lend to a hard-working person in urgent need of help. We called it his 'Do Good Money'. Dad passed away last year at the age of ninety, and I want to honour his memory by continuing his tradition. That is why I joined Kiva and established the 'Genealogists for Families' project.

My father was my friend and my hero, and I miss him. If his story can inspire others to join Genealogists for Families and establish the 'Do Good' tradition in their own lives, the world will be a better place.

14 comments:

  1. Judy, what a lovely tribute to your Dad.

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  2. He was a true gentleman. I have enjoyed your stories over the years of your childhood and of your times with your father. He was taken too soon.

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  3. Julie and Helen - thank you! I hope you will have fun as members of Genealogists for Families. We have some surprises planned for the coming weeks and months - and 24hrs from now the first of the 'Meet the Team' series of blog posts will be up. Who is it? My lips are sealed!

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  4. Judy,
    What a lovely tribute to your Dad and what a wonderful father he must have been to you.
    I know it was difficult to write that post and I thank you for doing so. Genealogists for Families came about because of the values Col Webster instilled in you...we are who we are by those that came before.

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  5. Judy, thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your father.

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  6. Thanks, Joan and Aillin. It took me a long time to find the right words, but I'm glad I wrote it. The photo is from a special occasion when I took Anne, a distant cousin from England, to visit Dad. It was a great day.

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  7. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man . . . and it is obvious to all of us that his sense of generosity had a great influence on you.

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  8. Thanks Thomas. My sister had a variation on Dad's theme. When she stopped at the motorway toll booth, she would pay extra and say that it was for the car behind her. She was quite peeved when e-tolls were introduced and the toll booths were removed!

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  9. Judy your father sounds like a truly inspirational man..an unsung hero (until now). It's wonderful that you've used your father's example to kick-start this project. He'd be so proud of you and thrilled with what you're doing to help others.

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  10. Thanks Pauleen. Dad would also be amazed that other people would even bother to read his story. :-)

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  11. Judy thanks so much for sharing your Dad with us. He sounds like he was an amazing, caring man. I'm sure he will be smiling as he sees the project grow

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  12. Thanks Jennifer. Yes, I can almost hear the little chuckle that was so much a part of his personality.

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  13. What a loving and lovely tribute to your father and very fitting that he would be the inspiration behind Genealogists for Families. Thank you for sharing your Dad's story as well as the GfF ... another reason why family history researchers are some of the most caring and giving people I know. Am proud to call myself part of this wonderful community.

    P.S. I'm sure your mother is very proud of you and how you've chosen to honor her husband.

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  14. Thanks Cindy. I hope you will join our team too. Team members who belong to our Facebook group will have seen my comments about my mother. She was a domestic science teacher, and in her memory I make many loans to women who do sewing, knitting, embroidery etc.

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