Ralph Seberry memorial

Jennifer Seberry's obituary

Eulogy for Ralph Benedict Seberry born Wallis

Ralph, born on Tuesday 13th October, 1966 was always bright and curious. He taught his parents that children can have complicated reasoning before they can talk but looking at the light, then pulling a chair to the light switch, climbing on the chair, then turning the light switch and thus turning on the light.

When he was about eight years old he learned to play chess from Mr John Mayne (aged 80) who lived in a Retirement Village across the road in Canberra. I soon discovered that Mr Mayne was a bit miffed because after a very short time Ralph was beating him at chess.

Ralph loved chess and books; he taught himself some linguistics and Hindi and then enough German and Russian to read and play every chess game in every chess book in Fisher Library at the University of Sydney.

While attending St Andrew's Cathedral School Ralph worked seven days a week as a paper boy and learned to trompe his chess computer: he took a few seconds to answer the move the computer had taken twenty four hours to compute.

He was, with his younger brother Luke, part of the local Camperdown cricket group and played soccer ar weekends. he became a member of the chess team for Sydney Grammar School.

Then he became a teenager and he learned to hack. In fact he became such an avid hacker he had his BSc testamur withheld, by the University of Sydney, for one year for efforts. Later he earned a Masters degree at the University of Technology Sydney and co-authored three academic papers.

At the time he loved chess. He travelled everywhere to play chess and met his devoted life companion Kat Lane playing chess at the University of Sydney.

He often lived for times with his Aunt Merril and cousins Donna, Mark, Jeannine and Lawrence. Many's the Christmas we were wakened at 1 am to open the Christmas presents together. One Christmas day though he had another surprise for me- he wanted to play chess in Melbourne, he had arranged a lift from Wagga Wagga to Melbourne but how was he to get to Wagga on Christmas day? The land was very dry and we got closer to Wagga we could see these fierce black clouds along the hill tops. The the fire was sweeping towards us and smoke was everywhere. I stopped the car, told everyone to get down and put wool or cotton over their heads. The fire exploded past us as the temperature soared. Once the fired had clearly passed we climbed out of the car to find ourselves stopped on a small bridge over a creek which had water in it. All the fence posts and trees were consumed. But we were safe. Ralph went on to Melbourne to play chess.

As I travelled and Ralph spent more time with his partner Kat and their wonderful children Jack and Alex he spent less time on chess and we did not see each other for some time. he clearly loved Kat and hi children and they loved him. He was a good father. As the children became older he renewed with great energy his interest in chess.

In February 2004 he and his family came to his grandfather Alexander John Seberry's 90th birthday party and his family and the family of hi cousin Jeannine had started to become very good friends.

At the time of his death he was tournament director for the NSW Chess Association and had some most innovative ideas which I hope to sponsor a prize to continue. His chess friends found him kind, gentle, witty and most helpful. He was 2004 NSW Chess Champion.

One of the most beautiful memories I have of Ralph is the last time he saw his niece Gabi and brother Luke. Gabi was asleep in the back of Luke's car. Ralph reached out spontaneously and gently stroked Gabi's cheek.

We will always remember his sudden death and how suddenly any of us can leave.

Jennifer Seberry