Vale Basil Cleary

A Funeral Mass for the late Basil Cleary was celebrated on Thursday, June 20 at St Mary's Catholic Church in Greensborough. Football director Neil Roberts delivered a eulogy on the club's behalf. Basil was laid to rest on Friday June 21 near the family home at Clarendon, on the Midland Highway 22 kilometres south-east of Ballarat.  

BASIL CLEARY- May 1940, June 2019

1959 - Joined Commonwealth Bank FC committee
1967/68- Secretary Commonwealth Bank FC
1982- VAFA Certificate Of Merit representing Commonwealth Bank FC
1998- Best clubman Southbank FC
2002- Best clubman Prahran Amateur FC
2008- Basil Cleary Medal introduced for seniors best & fairest winner 
Life member. Club timekeeper, Club licensee. VAFA club delegate. 

The Basil Cleary Tribute Luncheon on Saturday June 22 was always going to be a major occasion this year- now the aim is to turn the day into a celebration of a wonderful life of service to our club.

Judging by the flow of emails and flurry of phone calls since the news of Basil’s passing was known earlier this week many of his old friends, past players and administrators will trek to Toorak Park on June 22 to pay homage to Basil.

Never one to beat his own chest, we know Basil was chuffed the club planned a day in his honour.

Basil, a club icon who died suddenly on Monday, had an involvement stretching over a remarkable 60 years.

The club’s major individual award the seniors best and fairest is named the Basil Cleary Medal, a fitting honour for a man who devoted a lifetime of service to the cause.

President Fab Maya spoke for all when he said it was “indeed a very sad day for our club.’’

“Basil has been a very loyal servant to our club for many years with Commonwealth Bank, State Bank, Southbank, Prahran and now Prahran Assumption.’’

"I know that l am forever grateful to have known him for over 30 years and even though he didn't listen to me most of the time, I'll miss asking him every time l saw him- how are you doing Mr Cleary" and his usual response was "Not bad laddie."

"RIP Basil and thank you for everything you did for our club."

Basil’s involvement stretches back to 1959 when he came along as a supporter to watch his brother Tom player for Commonwealth Bank. He joined the committee that year and served every role except president, in all a 60 years association with the club.

“He was happy to take a back seat. He held every position bar the president over the years,’’ Tom said.

Every coach who has passed through Toorak Park over the past 20 years will know Basil well.

He was first to arrive on training nights to open the doors and last to put out the lights and lock up.

He was still timekeeper for home and away games up until last Saturday and, of course, he ran the bar.

The bar and canteen were Basil’s domain. Present day players will miss him every Wednesday night when they queue up to pay for dinner or their subs. Basil could have his moments – it was usually a case of his way or the highway!. But no one could ever question his passion for the club or work ethic.

Everything was written down, his records were impeccable befitting of on old bank man.

Long before the days of websites or computers Basil would keep hand written records of games played and goal kickers.

Basil also set something of a club record for end of season trips which he revelled in. The number is a bit sketchy put the tip is it was north of 40.

In recent years Basil’s health declined but he was still able to perform his normal duties.

When Basil failed to turn up to training and a committee meeting on Monday night and wasn't answering his phone alarm bells were ringing. Committeeman Trevor Evans called by, could not raise a reply, summoned police and sadly fears were proven founded.

Life at Toorak Park just won’t be the same without Basil behind the bar.

Basil, is survived by his brother Tom and sisters Patricia and Helen.