“Did somebody famous die?” a passerby asked Andrew Coorey as police stopped traffic in central Sydney, near St Mary's Cathedral, to allow the funeral procession to proceed, reports The Catholic Weekly.
No, he wasn’t famous or a celebrity. Sydney urological surgeon and philanthropist Dr Glen Coorey was so much more important than that – a much-loved, larger than life figure who touched many people’s lives with his care and generosity here and overseas.
Following his death in May after a protracted illness, the family was inundated with emails and phone calls from people around the world willing to share stories about him.
They recalled a compassionate man with a wonderful sense of humour; a man of faith they could turn to for advice and support. “Phrases like ‘colossus’, ‘legend’, ‘patriarch’ were used about Dad, but he would be uncomfortable to the point of embarrassed about those descriptions,” said his son John in his eulogy.
Dr Coorey’s wife of more than 50 years, Suzanne, his seven children and seven grandchildren were among the mourners who filled St Mary’s Cathedral for his funeral Mass on 23 May. His cousin, Mons Frank Coorey, was principal celebrant.
Born of Lebanese parents in Charleville, Queensland, in 1932, Glen Coorey boarded at Downlands College, Toowomba where, said son Andrew, he “proved a handful for the priests” and was asked “to look elsewhere for his further education”.
He attended St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, where he proved a handful for the Brothers but was brilliant in his exams, “which compensated for his other challenges”.
From 1951-56, Glen attended St John’s College (Sydney University) where he developed a passion for rugby. After graduation he attended the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
Dr Coorey was visiting urological surgeon to the Royal Prince Alfred, Mater and Canterbury hospitals, lecturer in surgery at Sydney University and departmental chairman of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
FULL STORY Surgeon touched many with care and generosity (Catholic Weekly)