Veteran teacher Michael Mulholland was farewelled at Panania’s St Christopher’s Catholic Church last week to the hymn On Eagles Wings … although made no secret he would have preferred be led out to the song Eagle Rock.
An educator at the Panania primary school for 31-years and the No 1 “unofficial” supporter of the Manly Sea Eagles, he passed away recently at the age of 70.
Tributes from both the Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans and coach Des Hasler were paid at the funeral as well as the club’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Humphreys presented the family with the jersey worn in the last game he watched by his favourite player Tom Trbojevic.
The veteran coach said the fanatical fan’s passing had saddened the club, which was blessed to have enjoyed his support for nearly 50 years.
“We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Michael, he was an educator and a mentor as well as one of our best ever members and a devoted Manly Sea Eagles fan,” Des said.
“Michael devoted his life to his family, to his students, the community and his beloved Sea Eagles.
“He was a wonderful man who leaves behind a legacy that his family can be very proud of.
“We may have lost one of our greatest supporters but Michael’s spirit will live long in our memories.”
While his lifelong support of the maroon and whites was legendary, it was his passion for his family and students that will be most remembered.
A devoted husband and father, he was well known for regaling stories about both his family and pupils to anyone who would listen.
He taught at the same school for over three decades, inspiring generations of children both in the classroom and on the basketball court.
Two of his former students were so inspired by him, they themselves followed in his footsteps and are now teaching at the Panania primary school.
Samantha Ma and Emma Lovatt were both educated by Mr Mulholland in Year 6 and agreed it was his infectious love of teaching that inspired them to follow suit.
“Michael was larger than life, with a huge heart and a real love for education,” Samantha said.
“His passion for his students was so inspiring which we experienced first-hand and led to us both deciding to become teachers. He made it fun while still using old-school techniques.
“The passing of Michael is such a huge loss and someone we will never forget.”
St Christopher’s principal Jamie Wahab said Michael was ‘one of those one-of-a-kind teachers, a character who stayed long in the memory of anyone who was taught by him’.