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Michael Dear

Michael Brian Dear

14 February 1960-22 March 2021

Everyone at Grant Saw has been deeply saddened by Michael’s terminal cancer diagnosis followed by his death in March this year at the age of 61. Michael joined the firm as a senior legal executive in 2000, and over the next 20 years helped hundreds of clients through their marital breakdowns with care, clarity and compassion.

His widow Patricia has provided us with the following eulogy, which was read at his funeral mass recently.

Rest in Peace, Michael, from all of us at Grant Saw.

Michael Brian Dear was born in 1960 to Sylvie and Brian in Charlton and was joined by his sister Susie in 1962.

The family moved to Eltham in 1968 with the house purchase handled by none other than Grant Saw, the solicitors who would later be Michael’s employer for 20 years.

He made his mark early as the first pupil at Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke to get his A Levels in the first year of the school’s existence.

Brian was a proud Lighterman on the Thames, but Michael opted not to follow his dad into life on the river and decided to pursue a career in law.

This was probably a good move, given his first adventure at sea with Tricia on holiday in Ireland did not end well – with the swell of the Atlantic taking its toll during a deep sea fishing excursion!

Michael took up a law degree in London and made the most of the quiet time at home to study while Brian and Sylvie were busy with the pub they ran for ten years in Dartford.

While dedicated to his studies and then his career, his true passion, like so many young men of his generation, was sport. He grew up playing as many sports as he could and later followed it closely.

As a staunch Millwall supporter, success would have been hard to come by, so he followed England to the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 and Italy in 1990 and also went to the World Athletics Championships in 1987. In later years, days out at the Oval, Old Trafford and Twickenham were always great fun.

But it was a skiing trip in 1991 where his life changed for good, when five likely lads from south of the river got to know a couple of Essex girls on the slopes of Andorra.

To say slopes in Michael’s case is stretching it a bit, given he rarely ventured further than the bar in his leather shoes and designer gear.

Following a summer holiday in Tenerife with the Coyle family the stamp of approval was sealed, and three short years later, Tricia and Michael became the new Mr and Mrs Dear.

After a honeymoon in the Caribbean, which would later become a firm holiday favourite, Tricia and Michael made their first home in Windermere Avenue in Elm Park.

In 1995 they began their beautiful family with the arrival of Nancy, and she was joined by Joe and Paddy before the end of the century, as the family home expanded with the handy building skills of Brian, who became known to the children as ‘Grandad Bang Bang’.

In 2003 they moved into their new home and the children progressed from St Albans to Sacred Heart and Campion, where Michael and Tricia became regular supporters of all the kids’ activities. Both were regulars on the touchline of netball, rugby and football matches, and Michael was always willing when Dave would thrust the linesman’s flag in his direction.

A strong and ever-present network of family and friends around them played a large part in family life, with shared holidays with relatives being the highlights of the summers. Turkey became their favourite destination, where Michael could leave work life behind and while away the hours with a beer in hand in the Moonlight bar. Barbados also became a regular destination for some winter sun.

Always a warm and generous host at home, Michael was an excellent cook and barman and there was always fun to be had at the Dears’, from New Years’ Eve fancy dress to summer evenings under a marquee in the garden.

Testing times were to come, with the sad passing of Sylvie in 2015 and the tragic loss of Paddy in 2016. Brian joined them in heaven in 2018, and through it all Michael and Tricia drew strength from each other and their incredible kids.

In 2018 Michael was rightly proud to see Nancy graduate with a Master’s degree in veterinary physiotherapy and Joe with a degree in English and American literature.

Their continued success as they forge the early years of their careers is something that was a great source of happiness to both Tricia and Michael, and he will no doubt be watching on as they progress.

Michael was a regular fixture on a Friday night in the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch, where Joe would sometimes join him for a pint after work and a lively discussion on the week’s sporting headlines was guaranteed.

Sunday night pub quizzes were also a firm favourite, where Michael’s contributions to the total score of Team Confused.com were as valuable as his ability to decipher the sometimes-dodgy pronunciation of the question master.

He will be greatly missed by the regulars there.

With Michael’s diagnosis in late 2020, aside from the amazing strength he displayed in fighting his illness for as long as he did, another of his best attributes came to the fore. His diligence.

Michael took every measure to ensure his family were looked after and that the difficulties of such a sad time could be lessened as much as possible for Tricia and the kids.

Since his passing, the tributes paid to Michael have demonstrated just how highly he was regarded by all who knew him. In writing to his family, Ray, Managing Partner at Grant Saw, eloquently summed up what Michael did: he made people’s lives better.

This was true not just in work. It was true for all of us who had the honour or sharing our lives with Michael.