It was the way celebrity agent John Fordham was always bound to go – surrounded by loved ones and a Who’s Who of Australia’s political and sporting scene.
The manager to sports, entertainment and media stars died on Sunday after a three year battle with throat cancer.
On Friday, Mr Fordham, 75, was farewelled at a funeral service held at St Francis of Assisi Church, in Paddington, east Sydney.
There was no shortage of big names there to say goodbye, including three other famous Johns – former Prime Minister John Howard, broadcaster John ‘Golden Tonsils’ Laws and nightclub identity John Ibrahim.
John Fordham’s eldest son, broadcaster and journalist Ben Fordham, outside the St Francis of Assisi Church with children Pearl and Freddie
Talent agent John Fordham was farewelled by hundreds of family, friends and the celebrities he managed at a funeral in Sydney on Friday. Pictured, the order of service
Pallbearers included former Sydney Swans coach Paul Roos, businessman Mark Bouris, ex-cricketer Mark Taylor and animal expert Matt Wright
Sylvia Jeffreys hugs Ben Fordham as she arrives at the church with husband Peter Stefanovic. Sylvia is managed by The Fordham Company
Former Prime Minister John Howard was among mourners to farewell John Fordham on Friday
Nick Fordham is greeted by John Laws outside the funeral service of his father John on Friday
Channel Nine talent past and present were well-represented with Sylvia Jeffreys, Peter Stefanovic and David Campbell also attending.
Mr Fordham is survived by wife Veronica, artist daughter Sarah, 2GB radio host Ben and his reporter wife Jodie, publicist son Nick and his wife Elizabeth and his five grandchildren.
Mourners were told that Mr Fordham had only wanted to hear from family at the funeral, and his eldest child – artist daughter Sarah – delivered the eulogy after jokes from the Fordham brothers that ‘for those we don’t know, yes we do have a sister’.
Ms Fordham said her father died surrounded by his family, with son Nick getting his ‘third and possibly favourite son Ricky Stuart on the line’ and the family standing around him in a ring.
‘Mum said thank you for being my man,’ she recalled.
‘We told him he fought a bloody good fight and he need fight no more.’
‘Together we ushered him forward into his next life. He simply fell into a peaceful sleep.’
The service heard Mr Fordham – a former newspaper journalist, Qantas head of public relations and founder of The Fordham Company – only considered himself retired the day before his death.
Kings Cross nightclub identity John Ibrahim paid his respects to John Fordham
2GB radio broadcaster Alan Jones makes his way into the funeral service
Ms Fordham said she could see her father sitting at his favourite bar in Waikiki, with Heinekins on ice, Billy Joel’s Piano Man blaring, telling ‘the tallest of tall tales.’
He would boast of his greatest love, wife Veronica, and ‘with a cheeky glint to his eyes (give one of) his favourite quips: ‘Not bad for a boy from Bingara’.
‘Cheers to Jack and so long, daddy-o’, she said.
Celebrity agent John Fordham (left) is pictured with his son Ben Fordham
The Fordham family: Nick, Sarah, Veronica, John and Ben in a photograph from the Order of Service
Sylvia Jeffreys (centre) and husband Peter Stefanovic make their way into the church
Sydney Swans player and coach Paul Roos and his wife Tami
On Monday, Mr Fordham was posthumously awarded an Order of Australia for service to charity.
Mr Fordham and his wife Veronica established The Fordham Company in 1979.
The company now manages some of the countries biggest sporting and entertainment names including former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor, television personality Lisa Wilkinson and her journalist husband Peter Fitzsimons.
The day after his father’s death, Ben Fordham posted a tribute on Instagram.
‘My dad has passed away. It was the most peaceful goodbye. We were all there with him and feel blessed.’
‘What a bloke. When we were growing up, he spent every spare minute playing on the street with all of the neighbourhood kids. He built a business with my mum that set the standard for public relations and personality management.’
Mr Fordham (right) with son Ben at the Australian Commerical Radio Awards last month
‘He was a wonderful donor to charity and established the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.’
‘As a mate, he was the best. If any of his family or friends or clients were in trouble, he’d go to war. ‘If you grab the tail, you get the whole tiger’ – that was Jack’.
‘We’re going to miss him but thankfully we took every chance to tell him how much we love him. That’s the trick. No regrets,’ Ben wrote.
In lieu of flowers, guests were asked to donate to the Head and Neck Cancer foundation.