Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Passionate colleague remembered

Shepparton paramedic and firefighter Murray Black received a guard of honour yesterday as he was farewelled by loved ones and colleagues at Wesley Uniting Church.

ASHLEIGH WILLIAMSON October 11, 2012 4:40am

Colleagues pay tribute to Murray Black, who died on Saturday aged 55 of a neurological disease.

Murray Black found a positive from any situation — professionally or recreationally.

Greg Fimmel made that point at the funeral of his Country Fire Authority colleague and friend yesterday.

Mr Fimmel said Mr Black was an adventurous man who enjoyed remote four-wheel drive trips.

‘‘He would always tell people ‘you are not bogged if you can move backwards’,’’ Mr Fimmel said.

Mr Black rarely moved backwards in life, even when diagnosed with a neurological disease in January.

He died on Saturday, aged 55.

The same neurological disease killed his son Nathan, 24, in May last year.

Family and friends were among the hundreds of people who filled Wesley Uniting Church in Shepparton yesterday to farewell Mr Black.

Emergency services personnel formed a guard of honour along Maude St as a hearse drove his casket from the church.

An Ambulance Victoria helicopter also flew over the guard of honour.

Ambulance Victoria colleagues Tony Walker and Garry Cook joined Mr Fimmel in giving eulogies.

‘‘I loved his passion, tenacity and honesty,’’ Mr Walker said.

‘‘He was always there to support his team, never with any fuss.’’

Murray Elliott Black was born in August 1957 as the youngest of four children Beth and Elliott raised at a Zeerust farm.

He attended Zeerust Primary School before his family moved to Shepparton in 1968, where he attended Bourchier St Primary School.

Mr Black went to Albury Grammar School for a year before returning to Shepparton and attending North Technical College.

His first job was as a Parklake Hotel drinks waiter and he originally thought of a career in business management.

However, he joined Ambulance Victoria and became a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance paramedic in 1995.

Mr Black became a training paramedic in 1996 and helped develop several programs in his role as Hume regional clinical manager.

‘‘His work ethics were unquestionable,’’ Mr Cook said.

Mr Black met his eventual wife Debbie doing ‘‘lappies’’ around Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton. They married on Debbie’s 21st birthday at Wesley Uniting Church in 1980 and raised three children — Rachelle, 28, and twins Damien, 26, and Nathan.

Damien and Nathan were 12 when they joined their father as Mooroopna Fire Brigade members.

Mr Black used his disease diagnosis to achieve several things on his ‘‘bucket list’’, including travelling with family and friends on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney, and across Asia and Europe.

‘‘Murray had a clear priority for his family and he was tireless in his effort to support, protect and develop his young ones,’’ Mr Fimmel said.

Murray Black is survived by his wife Debbie, two of his three children and three grandchildren.

The family said donations to Neo-Science Research would be appreciated.

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