Remembering a great Maitland man
It is with profound sadness this week that I write about the loss of long time Councillor Bob Geoghegan. Bob became a Councillor of the City of Maitland in September 1999 as a Member of the first Council to be elected following two years of the City operating under an administrator appointed by the State Government. As a member of that Council, he played an integral role in bringing stability and focus to the business of Council, and in building a strong partnership between the elected council and senior management. His genuine interest in the City and its community was always evident in his observations, ideas and suggestions and even more so in the interaction with the General Manager and senior managers in the lead up to Council meetings. Bob could be relied on to be the first phone call or meeting on Monday mornings having read his Council meeting agenda over the weekend, and the last phone call or visit prior to the Council meeting on Tuesday evening. That time he spent with the senior staff was always time well spent and his presence as a Councillor has been missed.
Serving Maitland as a Councillor for 18 years, Bob was widely respected by Councillors from all backgrounds. He readily shared his knowledge for the greater good, the good of the City. Indeed, Bob always worked with everyone around the table to achieve the best outcome for Maitland, avoiding personal and partisan politics. An engineer by profession he had much to contribute and his presence is sorely missed in the chamber.
On a personal note it was a pleasure to work with Bob even when it involved the odd Irish joke. He was a true gentleman, a man of integrity, a family man with a big interest in the arts and a fine sense of the absurd. Bob was President of the Arts Council for 16 years. He was a great driver when it came to delivering classical music and variety concerts to Maitland, chasing ticket sales and ensuring we all had a fabulous night.
Bob was Patron of Maitland Society of Artists for 10 years and a huge supporter of Maitland Regional Art Gallery. He understood the importance of the arts in all their forms to the social fabric of a city and to the health and enjoyment of our residents.
Bob was also a long term board member of Benhome and oversaw major renovations which evolved the aged care facility into the RFBI Benhome Masonic Village we have today. It was a huge step forward for aged care in Maitland and something that might not have occurred without the leadership of Bob Geoghegan.
He also had a passion for sports and opened a gym in East Maitland which brought the people of Maitland their first squash courts and indoor heated pool, allowing locals to enjoy the water all year round, with learn to swim classes being very popular.
Bob was the first patron of Maitland Basketball Association and a long time sponsor. He took a keen interest in the sport and he was frequently there to cheer them on, attending every home game until ill health prevented him from continuing.
To Bob’s family and friends, I offer my sincere condolences. I hope you take some comfort in knowing that he touched the lives of so many, including myself, in such a positive way. Rest in Peace Bob.