SHATTERED young woman reminded journalists and commentators of the pure meaning of the word tragedy today as she farewelled the man who would have become her husband. Laurenna Toulmin ended her tribute to her partner of four years, television and radio commentator Clinton Grybas, by recounting the last time they saw each other.
"I'm just so grateful to have had him in my life and I am so grateful that the last words to me as I was leaving the apartment that day were 'I love you'," she said tearfully.

"I'm so grateful mine too were 'I love you'."

Toulmin was among six people to speak at a 90-minute memorial service for Grybas, who died on January 5, aged 32.

About 1000 mourners attended City Life Church in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Wantirna to pay their respects.

The service featured the sort of roll call usually seen only at the AFL grand final or Brownlow Medal night - AFL bosses Mike Fitzpatrick and Andrew Demetriou, coaches Rodney Eade and Terry Wallace, past and present stars such as Wayne Carey, Matthew Lloyd, Nathan Buckley, Brad Johnson and Sam Mitchell - along with scores of media colleagues.

Grybas' sudden and so-far unexplained death has been front-page news in Melbourne, in part because of its shocking nature.

His body was found in his Southbank apartment after he failed to turn up to work.

"What we have encountered here is a real-life tragedy of our own and the echo of it is profound," service MC Tony Charlton said..

"The mystery of it all - and why was it so?

"Tests are still being conducted by the coroner, no clues have so far been determined, (his mother) Mrs Grybas told me."

But as the Grybas family has quickly discovered, his death also attracted such attention because he was so popular and respected.

Grybas had the rare combination of professionalism, geniality and perspective in an industry where all three can be optional extras.

"His dear mum told me that the family had planned initially for just a simple funeral for 200 at a church in his beloved Warrandyte," Charlton said.

"The family has been quite overwhelmed by the enormous response - there are scores of letters from high-school teachers, primary-school teachers, sponsors, taxi drivers, the whole gamut."

Grybas' brother Ashley and media colleagues Gerard Healy, Graeme Bond and Rex Hunt also spoke at the service, while audio-visual tributes honoured his personal and professional lives.

He was remembered for his versatility and knowledge in sports such as basketball and boxing, as well as AFL.

While there were plenty of humorous anecdotes, often at the expense of the man who once wore an ABBA T-shirt and obsessively worked with eight pens, the overwhelming emotions throughout the service were bewilderment and profound grief.

Another man who was once the shooting star of Australian sports commentary also had rich praise for Grybas.

"He was the prototype of the new caller ... if I was 15 years of age ... wanting to be a broadcaster, you would look at Clinton Grybas and say 'that's the guy that I want to call like and that's the way I want to go about my business," Bruce McAvaney said in a video tribute.
source The Australian