Doctors Roger and Jill Guard, who died on the MH17 flight, have been remembered as an energetic and selfless couple at a memorial service in Toowoomba.
Roger and Jill Guard have been remembered as selfless, as a packed theatre in Toowoomba celebrated the lives of a couple who lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
The couple were more than just the proud parents of three musical adult children and two beautiful grandkids.
They were also doctors who had called Toowoomba home for 30 years, running the Queensland city’s Road Runners and helping Sudanese women adjust to a new life.
Roger had spent 25 years as the director of pathology at Toowoomba Base Hospital, providing evidence for many coronial inquests, while his wife of almost 42 years, Jill, was a GP.
The farmer’s son and Congregational minister’s daughter were among 298 people, including up to 39 Australian citizens, who died when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over the Ukraine more than a fortnight ago.
More than 1000 people packed into Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre on Sunday afternoon to remember the couple through song, music and poetry.
Jill’s sister Cathy recalled how they met at university.
“It was while studying medicine that she acquired a skeleton from a young doctor, Roger Guard,” she said.
“When Roger turned up with the skeleton, he inadvertently locked the keys in his jeep.
“Apparently, Jill volunteered to clamber in the vehicle through a partly opened window and thus began a relationship.”
Luke Johnson from the Toowoomba Road Runners humorously remembered Roger’s many titles during his three decades with the club.
“He spent many years as our club president, race co-ordinator, marketing director, social convenor, course designer, chief morale officer, recruitment driver, fashion designer – yes, this is one of Roger’s creations which I’m proudly modelling today for you,” he said.
Neighbour and friend Sue Dowe remembered Jill’s 20-year dedication to meals on wheels and her help for Sudanese migrant women through the Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support group.
“She possessed a huge amount of energy, a fine intelligence, compassion, generosity, modesty, good looks, a loving, caring, selfless nature and musical and artistic talent,” she said.
The Guards’ three adult children Paul, a coastal engineer, Amanda, a physiotherapist, and David, a pathologist like his dad, also spoke of their love for their talented parents who explored the world with them.
“We’re glad that you are together on your final adventure doing something you love,” eldest son Paul said.