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Sally Riordan

[Nick & Pherosa Engelman]

 

My husband Nick and I have both known the Riordan family for the past 8 years. Nick has only just relocated to America, and sincerely regrets not being able to be here in person. We thank the family for the opportunity to speak in Sally's memory.

Generosity. Enthusiasm. Strength of spirit. Humor. When we think of Sally, these are the qualities that come to mind.

It was impossible to work at Cybec and not be touched by Sally's warmth. It showed in many ways. There were the obvious examples - the plants brought in to brighten the office; the photo-board of pictures she'd taken of all the staff; the glorious range of cakes that appeared at every celebration. And there were the personal interactions - the sometimes quiet, sometimes hilarious, spontaneous discussions that inevitably occurred when Sally came by.

Everybody would make time to stop and talk when Sally appeared. She showed such genuine interest and delight, and was so full of stories of her own. Sally had the ability to become involved in a story, whether listening to it or telling it. People enjoyed talking to Sally not just because she was interesting, but because they could tell she cared.

Sally and Roger were true partners. Their shared passion for the outdoors was obvious in their pursuits and their stories. We heard of walks in all weathers, family holidays in the high country, and gentle explorations of every location visited, as the two of them sought out the local flora - much of which would then appear, beautifully photographed, in the next "trip album" Sally would bring in to the office.

For me, their partnership was never more clear than in their joint commitment to the "mad Cybec venture". I can distinctly remember the unabashed joy Sally showed when we broke the hundred thousand mark in monthly sales; she and Roger had put so much on the line to follow this dream, and like most small businesses its success was sometimes a day to day thing. More vivid yet are my memories of the many times Sally stood by Roger as he announced things - her simple presence giving him support when he needed it in emotional times both good and bad. This was a venture they undertook together, and Sally was always there.

Sally was a central part of the culture that underlay Cybec. Both she and Roger believed in the value of hard work, honest integrity, and made a real commitment to "give something back" out of the success such an attitude brought. Through the years we saw an impressive collection of scholarships and charitable contributions to the external community, as well as the extremely generous staff investment plan.

In the early years, Sally and Roger would jokingly refer to the staff as "their children" - but their actions showed a commitment to the welfare of those around them that gave substance to these words.

Sally was one of life's participants. It would be impossible for such a person to find a point where she could say "that's it - I've done all I want," But there is some solace that she saw some closure in the venture she and Roger started. All of us at Cybec had a chance to say "thank you", and I know how much that meant to Sally - it was a celebration both of the achievement and the generosity she and Roger had shown to all of us.

Sally was an unfailingly cheerful person. She gave unstintingly of her energy and enthusiasm. Her interests were eclectic, and her humor always present. She was willing to take risks to follow her dreams, and supportive of others in theirs. Many lives have been changed in incredible ways through her generosity. It was with the deepest shock and sadness that we learned of her passing, and she will remain in our thoughts always.

Thank You

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Tribute from Nick & Pherosa Engelman