Gerard Yeo, 20 murdered October 12th, 2002 at Bali
IIn the finest Australian tradition, Gerard Yeo earned his first nickname, Pancake, as a young lad. His mother Kier recalls a bunch of kids in the backyard playing cricket. As they exhorted Gerard to join in - an invitation he would normally have jumped at - they were surprised to hear he was otherwise occupied. "He shouted, 'No, I'm not coming out, I'm making pancakes'," Kier says. She and Gerard's father Pat laugh softly.Gerard would have been 21 on August 9.He almost pulled out of the Bali trip with the Coogee Dolphins, because his brother Paul had decided not to go, and a few players in Gerard's age group had made a similar decision. But he went, and, if the photographs that the Yeos have seen are any indication, Gerard was having a mighty time. Pat remembers Gerard as a doer. "When he was about 12, I was spray painting the front veranda, and he pitched in. Did a really good job," he says.
The Yeos do not pretend their son was an ideal scholar, but he built their back veranda as part of his HSC design technology course.He used posts fashioned from felled trees at a sister's property and the finished product shows an almost intuitive competence.But he could be a loveable bugger. "In year 12, for his free periods he'd come home and get on the computer," Kier says. "I thought he was doing homework, then I found he was tuned into Beauty and the Beast."He once wrote an email to (host) Stan Zemanek, along the lines, 'My mum thinks if you study hard you can get a good job, what do you think?' It was a send-up letter."Gerard went to Sydney in 2001 to start an apprenticeship in brother Paul's plumbing business.
His parents say he was also good mates with his sibling twins Simon and Jessica, now 17.He could also sing and embraced different forms of music. When Gerard's CDs came home to Dubbo from his Sydney unit, Pat and Kier were amazed. There, among the latest stars, were Billy Joel and a much older raver - Tom Jones.Dubbo is no hick town - it is a regional centre. But not so big that a young man's death can be anonymous.Overwhelming numbers came back to the Yeos' home after the memorial service. They filled the back and front yards, and spilled on to the street.Local outlets donated food and strangers turned up with casseroles and other provisions for days afterwards.Pat and Kier were touched by the generosity, and by the knowledge that even strangers would understand they would be too preoccupied to think, let alone cook for visitors. Just beyond Gerard's sturdy veranda, family and friends have built a memorial - a peaceful, spot-lit water feature and gardens.A wave is picked out in coloured stones, a reminder of Gerard's time with Coogee, and the ebb and flow of fate.
Gerard's parent's tribute can be viewed here :-