In Loving Memory of Gabriel Mandic

In Loving Memory of Gabriel Mandic

Gabriel Mandic was born in southern Germany in the summer of 1981. He spent the first part of his life living in the picturesque landscape of the German Alps. He enjoyed many hiking trips and spent large amounts of time in his youth playing soccer with friends. He was a very active child that would not sit still for very long. When he was a teenager, he followed in his father’s footsteps and began his plumbing apprenticeship in Germany. When he was 16 years old, his older sister Brigita married an Australian boy, and then the mission to move Down Under started to become a reality.

Once he moved to Australia in the summer of 2005 Gabriel thought it was time to find a bride and settle down. I remember meeting Gabriel after he had been here some time, at one of the Victorian camps. We had an instant connection. He was very brave, and on my birthday, he sent me beautiful long-stem roses. We began dating, and later married in the spring of 2008.

Gabriel began his own business and worked many hours to provide for our family. God was always at the forefront whenever he conducted his business. He was always kind and went out of his way to please others. He worked tirelessly to achieve his goals both professionally and spiritually. Gabriel loved to talk about God and would have many religious discussions with anyone he could, especially at work.

He spent many weekends helping youth in Victoria. Gabriel would take them surfing on Sundays, but to get the reward they would need to go canvassing first. In the many years that he went canvassing, a large proportion of the Geelong area has been completed on these days.

In the spring of 2012, we welcomed our first bundle of joy, Tamara. They say children change you, and this was the case with Gabriel. He became our protector and spiritual guide. He loved Tamara so much. Gabriel had such a patience with her and would spend time teaching her about God and His love. He loved to play games and teach her how to surf, ride a bike, skateboard and many other things.

Gabriel loved the outdoors and spending time with friends in nature. This was a highlight in our family time. We would go with friends to the river, make a fire and spend time in God’s presence. Gabriel took us to many places here in Australia but also around the world where we hiked or had some outdoor adventure. He loved to be with his friends and family especially outdoors. So many nights he would light the outdoor fireplace at home, and we would sit and chat into the early hours of the morning.

After many years of struggle, in the autumn of 2022 we welcomed our second baby, David. He was a delight to our lives and brought tremendous joy to Gabriel’s life, although it was to be only for a short time. He still calls for his ‘Tata’ on a regular basis.

He was a constant support for me and the kids. Gabriel was always positive and made us laugh whenever he could. There would always be a joke about something in the house.

Words cannot describe the hole that has been left in our hearts the day he left this world. Gabriel was an honest man that loved to serve God and others. His ever willingness to help others whenever they needed it and be a true friend is something I believe will be missed by all. He never judged others by their clothes or status or what they could offer him. All he wanted was for everyone to feel accepted and happy whenever he was around. His legacy now lives on through his children. I pray that they will be as kind, caring and accepting of everyone as their father was. We will miss him tremendously. Till we meet again.

~Susanna Mandic

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Nor what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?