Colin Groves: Resting in Poetry

Colin's 75th birthday celebration: Phyll Dance & Colin Groves - wife & husband, partners in life and soulmates.

Colin’s 75th birthday celebration: Phyll Dance & Colin Groves – wife & husband, partners in life and soulmates.

Colin Groves, born in London on 24 June 1942, died in Canberra on 30 November 2017.

Much has been – and will be – written about Colin Groves and his contributions to science, particularly around his work in primatology. My words today are about Colin Groves, friend to many and husband, partner in life and soulmate to Phyll Dance. I first met Phyll whilst living in Canberra in the early 90s and was invited to her home with Colin shortly thereafter. Their friendship has been a blessing in my life over the years: countless telephone calls, parcels to and from Canberra (regardless of which bit of this wide, brown land that I was living in) and many, many visits as a guest in their home.

My last visit to Canberra – at the end of September this year – was for Phyll’s birthday celebration, which Colin and I convinced her she definitely needed to have after Colin’s birthday celebration in June of this year. I have a beautiful memory of these two special people: we were driving from their home to another location with Phyll in the driver’s seat and classical music playing on the radio. Colin and Phyll were holding hands and conducting the music on the radio. It was, for me, one of the most beautiful, natural and loving things I had ever experienced.

Thank you, Colin, for allowing me to be one of the lucky people who called you friend. I will miss you dearly and I will hold you in my memories. Please know that those of us still on this mortal coil will do our very, very best to look after your wonderful wife who will miss you forever. Thank you, dear man, thank you for being you.


No flowers by request – if you wish, donations can be made to the Primate Conservation Endowment, a fund established by Colin to provide support for students who are studying Biological Anthropology, focusing on primatology.

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