Michael Clancy was a popular teacher and deputy principal, a talented educator, a loved husband and father, and neighbour.
Long-time colleague and friend Jim Cooper will remember him as “one of the strongest men I have ever known”.
“This was a guy with significant arthritis and health problems, who would come to school on medication and barely able to take two steps,” Mr Cooper said of his friend on Sunday.
“You would see him in excruciating pain, but he never complained.
‘‘I would tell him to go home, but he said he was fine.”
Mr Cooper and Mr Clancy worked together for years as principal and deputy principal, as partners and friends, at Albion Park Public School. Mr Cooper remembered Michael’s skill at mentoring wayward pupils and students with disabilities, recalling his “real affinity” for children.
“He had a great strength in dealing with kids and getting them on the straight and narrow,” Mr Cooper said.
“He excelled in his role of student welfare, without peer in anybody I’ve ever met.”
Mr Cooper had retired only months before Mr Clancy, and just weeks ago had even finished a similar trip to the one Michael and his wife Carol had been taking through Germany, Norway, France and Holland. Their friends had been planning to meet in the Southern Highlands on Sunday to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to welcome the Clancys back home.
“Devastation is one emotion, but also shock and recognition Australia is no longer isolated but these horrific things will touch us now,” Mr Cooper said.