At his memorial service, local icon and homeless man Gary Davis was remembered as a fiercely independent and generous man.
In the eulogy, Malcolm Brown said he was an academically gifted, but troubled person, taking up residence near where he grew up at the Mumbil turn off and where he became “part of the landscape”.
“His sofa, from where he would recline and observe the passing traffic, became a talking point and passing truckies would salute him on their air horns,” Mr Brown said.
“It was no great surprise to see him anywhere. Kevin Browne told me he pulled up at the lights in Katoomba one day and the passenger door opened and in jumped Gary with the question ‘are you going to Wellington’?”
Of the many people who attended his memorial service, those who spoke about Mr Davis often talked about their first impressions of him.
Reverend Ross Godfrey recalled being a “do-gooder” and offering Mr Davis $5 before being told in no uncertain terms to “get lost”.
“My respect for this fiercely independent man grew,” he said.
Robyn Hayes recalled car trips to Dubbo with Mr Davis and forcing him to share social pleasantries as they drove behind a double-decker truck loaded with cars.
She said when it was Mr Davis’ turn to talk he said, “I wish you’d passed that truck in front of us one of those cars could kill us,” before adding “your turn”.
She said he was a generous man who somehow found out that her mother liked lime lemonade and would always stop at the school shop to buy her one.
Mr Davis turned 60 in August last year.
“We all got to know him a little –but only a little,” Mr Brown said. “He was a very private person.”
Clare White said Gary Davis would be greatly missed by many. She described him as a man who often had a twinkle in his eye.
“He had a beauty in his spirit that nothing could take away.”