An even less convinced John Laws also had trouble reconciling this message of love when the priest focused attention on him, creating much laughter throughout St Francis of Assisi, Paddington, which was packed with more than 400 mourners on a warm Sydney Friday afternoon.
And what a roll-call it was: John Howard, Wally Lewis, Gladys Berejiklian, Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim, winemaker Brian McGuigan, Richardson, broadcasters Laws and Alan Jones, socialite Skye Leckie, former Liberal Party identity Michael Yabsley, Fran Macpherson (mother of Elle), TV identities Susie Elelman, Lisa Wilkinson, Sylvia Jeffreys and Peter Stefanovic, former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor, NRL boss Todd Greenberg, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart and former News Corp boss John Hartigan, sports presenter Tony Squires, businessman Mark Bouris, AFL coach Paul Roos and Outback Wrangler Matt Wright.
Old rivalries were buried, for just a few hours at least, with Laws and Jones cheekily trading gibes outside the church. Indeed for many years it was Fordham who was the meat in the sandwich of the pair, who for decades have waged battles over egos and ratings.
While Fordham’s sons, radio personality Ben Fordham and agent Nick, are well known within the circles their father inhabited, the honour of delivering the eulogy fell on their big sister, artist Sarah Fordham.
She paid tribute to her father, who died of throat cancer at 75, not for the man behind the headline making deals, but more for the father, grandfather and loving husband of Veronica.
She shared a story about how her father, based in San Francisco working for Qantas, had cut out a photograph of her mother published in a trade magazine before they met, carrying it around in his wallet and declaring to his friends he would not only meet the pretty brunette who was also working in the US, but would marry her.
“When they did finally meet, he told her about seeing her in the magazine. She was almost going to fob him off until he reached into his wallet and pulled out the photo which had been folded up neatly … Mum you really were the love of his life.”
But it was Fordham who was the star, with Frank Sinatra’s I Did It My Way played as his coffin was carried out onto Oxford Street in Paddington.