In Memory and celebration of my father’s life…
Remembering his passing 9 years ago this week…
DAVID BY NAME CLEMENT BY NATURE
Ron and Lina Trudinger’s third child was born in Adelaide on January 13, 1928. His parents named him Clement David Trudinger. He was a much longed for child as he arrived eight years after his older sister, Agnes.
“Clement?” his aunts cried. “We don’t like the name Clement.”
So they called the babe by his second name, David, and David he has been ever since. Except, of course when he goes to hospital, then he’s Clement, officially.
Throughout his life, God watched over David who has shared many stories of how he showed His love towards him, protecting, and providing for him and his family. He shared how he felt he didn’t deserve God’s love; he wasn’t perfect, yet God loved him. It is this love that David would want all of you to know.
He began to write down his life-story, and in the last few weeks began to tell all, especially his grandchildren, how God worked in his life and how his Heavenly Father protected him.
When he was two years old, his missionary parents took David and his younger brother Paul to Sudan, in Africa. Not the kind of place to take small children. But God protected David and his brother from a hippopotamus, cobras, car accidents, and mad men. (He’s written in more detail about these incidents and I will share these in the future.)
God also blessed him with a loving and God-fearing family. Some may say, too God-fearing, for his parents continued their mission work in Sudan while David from the age of seven, and Paul from five, commenced their schooling in Adelaide. As a student, David only saw his parents every five years when they returned home on furlough. He shared how despite missing his parents, he enjoyed his childhood, with so many aunts doting on him, and the game afternoons they had. I think his love of games started there in the Northumberland Street parlour. He’d even created a few games in his latter years.
His other great love was sport, especially football. God blessed David with fitness, agility, and a few trophies along the way. In retirement, he played golf, and when his legs couldn’t keep up trekking the 18 holes, he took up table tennis instead. He was still playing table tennis up until a few months ago. Sport kept his body and mind young.
David also enjoyed hiking and exploring. During school holidays he’d visit his older brother Ron, a teacher at Ernabella. While there, he made friends with the Pitjantjatjara children and go into the Musgrave Ranges on hiking expeditions. One hot day, David and a friend became lost in the ranges without water, or salt. They wandered for hours parched and at the point of dehydration, before coming across a waterhole, the most welcome sight David had ever seen. I’m sure God protected and guided them back home. I’m also sure that’s when David’s love of salt began.
David progressed through his schooling, and gifted in art, he trained to be an art and woodwork teacher. After a couple of years at Lameroo, he won a position at Hermannsburg Mission as headmaster.
He taught at Hermannsburg for five years. In that time, he became close to the Aranda people, especially the students he taught. They took him on expeditions into the MacDonnell Ranges, Palm Valley, and gorges and beauty spots along the Finke River. David also became close to Pastor Gross’ daughter, Marie.
On January 23, 1958, he married Marie in Hermannsburg.
However, his romance with Central Australia was cut short, when, for health reasons, he and Marie had to move down to Adelaide. On October 30, his first child, Richard was born.
David continued teaching, first at Ridley Grove Primary School, and then St. Leonards P.S. The little Trudinger family moved from schoolhouse to schoolhouse.
May 3, 1963, his daughter, Lee-Anne was born. By this time, Glenelg Primary School planned to convert their little rented home into a library. As his family grew and Marie grew more unsettled with the constant shifting, David faced the challenge to buy a house. But how could he on a teacher’s wage? He looked at his lovely stamp collection of rare Sudanese stamps. Could he trade them in to help pay for a deposit?
They looked at a few homes. A bungalow on Cross Road appealed to him, but not Marie. His father wasn’t impressed either. Marie didn’t like that pokey little home on the main road with no back yard at all and the property was right next to the rail line. Then a trust home at Gilbert Road Somerton Park came up for sale, and the deal was done. David regretted selling his stamp collection but reasoned that this was an investment for the children. And, many years down the track, it was, especially with the two lovely court yard homes, one of which David and Marie have lived in from 2006.
God blessed David’s career. He taught at Port Adelaide Primary School from the late 1960’s until he retired in 1985 at the age of 57. In that time he studied to teach Indonesian, became Deputy Principal, and won a government research grant to go to Indonesia. He became interested in the Indonesian musical instrument, the Anklung. He brought a set home and proceeded to teach pupils how to play. He had bands of students playing in the Festival of Music until 2010. He continued to visit the school now LeFever Primary and train students to play the Anklung, right up till the beginning of this year. He also tutored indigenous students.
David lived life to the full and grasped every opportunity to explore the wild and untouched land God has created, especially Central Australia. With his long service leave, and then time in his early retirement, he made regular pilgrimages to the Centre. And God protected him. I like to think that now he is with the Lord, his guardian angel is enjoying a well-deserved rest.
One example he gave of God’s protection was on a hiking trip in the Western Wilderness of Tasmania with a friend. On one narrow path climbing around a cliff-face, he felt his heavy pack over-balance and he began to fall. “This is it,” he thought. Then he felt the pressure of someone pushing him back against the rock and he was able to step two metres further to a wider path. He knew an angel of the Lord rescued him, preserving his life, not just for his sake, but for his friend’s sake, and also because his work on earth was not complete.
But on August 25, 2012, David’s work on earth was done. There are probably many things he has done that will be remembered as a blessing and encouragement to all who knew him. He was a regular member of Faith Lutheran Warradale church; he took an active role, and was a vital member of the congregation for over 54 years. He was a Sunday School teacher, an elder, and a Bible Study leader.
We will miss his cheerful nature, how he grasped life, lived it to the full and shared God’s love with all he came across.
He may have been David by name, but he was Clement by nature.
First published as a eulogy to Clement David Trudinger by Lee-Anne Marie Kling ©2012
Revised © 2016; 2021
Feature photo: Central Australian sunrise © C.D. Trudinger 1977