Napier lauded as star
Nick Clark, Tasmania News - The Mercury August 14, 2010
FORMER deputy premier Sue Napier's brother Greg Braid wiped away tears at her state funeral yesterday.
"Photos and music, they're a strong combination aren't they," he said as he pocketed his handkerchief.
Along with about 1000 mourners, the Rev Braid had watched a photo montage of the 62-year-old's life accompanied by Wonderful by Ella Fitzgerald and Hallelujah sung by Allison Crowe.
Mrs Napier was revealed as an active person who loved riding, netball, camping and her family - late husband Andrew and sons Alex and James.
The Presbyterian funeral, conducted by the Rev David Jones at Launceston's Albert Hall, was attended by politicians from all parties.
Bass candidates Geoff Lyons and Steve Titmus demonstrated the bipartisan respect for Mrs Napier by sitting close to each other.
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman eulogised the country girl he knew as "Nipper".
"Sue's earliest years were spent on a family farm near Lake Barrington beautiful country but cold," he said.
"Sue remembered crouching in an apple box underneath a potato bag to keep warm in the milking shed."
Later she helped milk 80 cows and emptied rabbit traps after school at Ulverstone.
"This is where the tough, no-nonsense spirit was sown," Mr Hodgman said.
"She was a country girl not to be messed with."
Former senator Peter Rae described Mrs Napier as a star who shone brightly at an early agea nd whose light never dimmed.
She set an example in politics, as in life, by being honourable and decent.
But she was no shrinking violet and in 1992 at her first election had adopted the slogan "The best man for the job is a woman".
Sister Debbie Boyles remembered driving with Sue and exploring side roads for blackberries and mushrooms.
"I kept Sue company on occasions when I persuaded Mum to let me go to the drive-in with Sue and her new boyfriend," she said.
She looked forward to sharing a bedroom when Sue returned home for holidays from university.
"I'm not sure that sharing a room with a seven or eight-year-old sister was her idea of vacation joy," she said.
Her sister, she said, was always full of life and energy.
"Last Wednesday, August 4, she said to me: 'Do you think it might be a good idea to keep taking my vitamins?'," she said.
Mrs Napier died last Thursday, aged 62, just four months after husband Andrew.
She withdrew from the March state election after a recurrence of breast cancer.
Mr Braid read a letter from Mrs Napier's niece Jessica which spoke of her "passionate integrity".
Premier David Bartlett read from the New Testament and Lieutenant-Governor Ewan Crawford from the Old Testament.
Former opposition leader Rene Hidding spoke of Mrs Napier's humility, balance and compassion.
The departure of the coffin, draped in the Australian flag and bearing pink and red roses, was accompanied by bagpipers from the City of Launceston RSL Pipers and Drums.
A private funeral also was held yesterday.