Tributes flow for ‘unofficial Federal Father’
Intelligent, kind, positive and creative.
That is how Gavan and Jess Chin, owners of the Federal Hotel, described one of their most loved and influential customers who passed away this week.
They first met Graham Slim when they took over the hotel in May 2013.
“He approached us with a letter seeking permission to organise a get together for regulars to come and meet the new Federal owners,” Gavan said.
“He also shared his love for photography and asked if we would allow him to display photo memories on the wall for the event.”
So began their friendship with Graham and the construction of the “Federal photo wall”.
A keen photographer and painter, Graham painted four murals at the hotel.
His passion for music and drama saw him in various productions on stage and behind the scenes, and often singing with local muso’s at the hotel’s live music nights – sometimes his own lyrics.
Graham helped shaped The Federal Hotel to what it is today.
He was always hands on with renovation tasks and setting up for special events like Pub Fest, trivia and Christmas parties.
Gavan said Graham was a cheery man who always thought of others before himself.
He specialised in giving personalised gifts: He once painted artwork to specifically match the walls of a staff member’s new house; and printed photos for another of her wedding so she’d have something to look at when she returned from her honeymoon.
Graham wrote poetry for the hotel’s patron birthdays, provided cuttings for gardens and always sought the perfect sentimental ornament for patrons who were leaving.
The Federal family said Graham became the unofficial “Federal Father”, “bringing all the regulars together just as a wise, caring father would do”.
“When asked how he was, Graham would most often replied with, ‘I’m on top of the world, darling. Couldn’t be better’,” Gavan added.
They will always cherish Graham’s fun spirit and keenness to get involved with hotel events and dress ups.
“So much so, that he and a local young patron had a ‘shirt off’ competition to see who had the shittiest shirt,” Gavan laughed.
“Graham prided himself on his collection of perfectly disgraceful shirts.”
Since his passing, tributes have flooded in from patrons and friends far and wide.
“Everybody has their own ‘Graham story’ to share about what he did for them and how he touched their life,” Gavan said.
“Each story special and demonstrating how one man touched so many without even realising his impact.
“In a world filled with bad news, it’s incredible how one man’s love and kindness was able to touch, influence and change so many people’s lives for the better.”