Family’s tears as Gayle Rivkin is laid to rest

Gayle Rivkin funeral: Widow of disgraced stockbroker Rene Rivkin is laid to rest with the couple’s only daughter giving moving eulogy


The widow of disgraced stockbroker Rene Rivkin was farewelled at a private funeral in Sydney on Monday afternoon.

Gayle Rivkin suddenly died in her early 70s on  last week – 18 years after her husband took his own life aged 60.

Sombre friends and family gathered at Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park in Matraville to say their final farewell at a service which was not announced publicly.

About 100 mourners including Rene Rivkin’s onetime business associate and former Labor senator Graham Richardson packed the South Chapel with many carrying a single tangerine rose.

Tears flowed as Gayle and Rene’s only daughter Tara read a goodbye tribute to her mum, describing her recent grief ‘as all consuming’.

‘Every second of every day your absence feels like a sharp pain going through me,’ she began.

Gayle Rivkin suddenly died in her early 70s  - 18-years after her husband took his own life

Heartfelt exchanges flowed outside the chapel

‘I don’t know how I will accept this new reality we’re living in and how I’ll live the rest of my life without you in it.’ 

Tara spoke of an idyllic childhood and close relationships with her four older brothers Damien, Jordan and twins Dion and Shannon.

‘I don’t know of a closer family and that is completely resolved by mum and dad – what a wonderful legacy to leave.’ she said.

Jordan Rivkin also made a touching tribute to his mother and reflected on her ongoing battle with depression.

‘Perhaps the most insidious aspect of mum’s depression was her loneliness, she was lonely in the company of others,’ 

‘It must be said that my mum wasn’t alone, you need only to look around and my siblings and I are incredibly touched’ he said.

Former senator Graham Richardson was amongst the mourners at the funeral of Gayle Rivkin

Hundreds of mourners packed the South Chapel at Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park in Matraville

Gayle’s friend of more than 50 years, Beryl Sundin, delivered a heartfelt eulogy in which she said she would always remember a kind, loyal, loving woman with a smile on her face.

‘We are going to miss her so much and now need to find a way to move on,’ she said.

The service was led by family friend, filmmaker Peter Scarf, who regaled mourners with tales from the Rivkin household.

‘Gayle and Rene shared much of their lives together creating a closely-knit and truly inseparable family unit – I have never seen a bond quite like the one Gayle created.’

‘She loved her children deeply. She loved Rene deeply, she was completely devoted to them all.’ Mr Scarf said.

‘The conversations would be endlessly entertaining – it was Rene and Gayle – that was it and it was a full, colorful and joyful life.’

The funeral took place just metres from where Rene and his younger brother Leonard’s memorial plaques lie. Leonard died in 1978 aged just 35 having drowned in Bali.  

'I don't know of a closer family and that is completely resolved by mum and dad - what a wonderful legacy to leave' Tara Rivkin said in a touching tribute to her mum

'It must be said that my mum wasn't alone, you need only to look around and my siblings and I are incredibly touched,' Jordon Rivkin said in a heartfelt eulogy

Mourners heard the Bette Midler song, Wind Beneath My Wings play during the photo slideshow to celebrate the ebullient woman’s love of dancing.

Gayle had stood by her husband during his high-profile fall from grace and leaves behind five children, two of whom followed their father into the family business.

Eldest son Damien confirmed his mother’s death to Daily Mail Australia on August 25.

‘We are devastated at the loss of our mother Gayle Rivkin,’ he said. ‘She was a loving and devoted mother and grandmother.

‘The family requests privacy at this time and will not be providing further statements.’

Rene was the youngest-ever member of the Sydney Stock Exchange and in 1985 was named Business Review Weekly magazine’s Stockbroker of the Year.

He gained nationwide fame beyond financial circles after establishing the Rivkin Report, a newsletter providing stock tips and other investment advice, and was often photographed chomping on a cigar.

Rivkin was a household name through the 1990s, making regular media appearances and mixing with leading political and business figures, before a spectacular downfall.

Fame did not bring out the best side of Rivkin, whose public lifestyle seemed to revolve around flash cars, fast boats and a coterie of hangers-on, many of them handsome young men and models.

‘Some of his friendships in the ’90s were completely different from his friendships in the ’80s,’ Gayle Rivkin once said. ‘He discovered a bunch of playmates.’

Rivkin was first embroiled in a major controversy after a printing plant called Offset Alpine, of which Rivkin was chairman and chief investor, was destroyed by fire in 1993, resulting in a $53million insurance payout.

In April 2003, Rivkin was found guilty of insider trading by purchasing Qantas shares based on market-sensitive information the carrier was to merge with Impulse Airlines. 

Rivkin was sentenced to nine months’ periodic detention, but collapsed in his cell after just one day. He underwent brain surgery and resumed his sentence in 2004.

After his first attempt at suicide Rivkin moved from the family’s Point Piper resident to his mother’s Darling Point home where in May 2005 he took his own life.

The 60-year-old’s funeral was attended by about 300 mourners including  Richardson, radio star Alan Jones, fashion designer Peter Morrissey and convicted drug trafficker Simon Main.

Son Dion, who is now director of dealing at the Rivkin Report, told mourners at Eastern Suburbs Crematorium: ‘I’m not sad for him because he’s finally found peace.’

Shannon Rivkin is chairman and chief investment officer at Rivkin Private Wealth, Damien and Jordan are clinical psychologists and sister Tara is an English teacher.

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