November 8th, 2023Community mourns loss of much-loved Serge
Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Contributed
Popular Daylesford taxi driver Serge Kislinsky often told his daughter Natasha Waters he couldn’t visit the grandchildren in Melbourne because “the village needs me”.
And Serge’s sudden death early last week has left the Daylesford and wider community shocked with many taking to social media to talk about their love of the 73-year-old.
His family posted:
Forever loved by your ex-wife and angel, Sue.
Loved and adored by your Princess Natasha, Prince Edward, Billy and Floss.
Life will not be as colourful without you.
I am certain taxis will never be the same in Daylesford.
Natasha said while she knew her father was loved by many she had been amazed by the comments on Facebook. “It has been just beautiful for Mum and me to read that daily. It makes us laugh and remember lots of things about him, it is just incredible.
“We worked out that Dad had lived in Daylesford for 25 years and he went there because he had a hard life in Melbourne and was ready to move and make a new life for himself, and he did.
“He just loved his job and put that first before everything, it was the most important thing to him. He would often call and say ‘I can’t come and visit the grandkids, I have to look after the village, they need me’.
“And he took such pride in his job and his uniform. When we went up last Wednesday he had all his shirts and pants ironed and his shoes polished. Not many people would be proud of driving a taxi but he made that his profession and he loved being good at it and he loved that he brought such joy.
“I used to love hearing stories about him driving people, getting out and opening the doors for older women, carrying their shopping, taking one woman to different halls for dances. I just loved hearing his stories.”
Natasha said Serge lived a very simple life – with his family, job and the locals the most important things. He also had a passion for a good red wine, which he couldn’t really afford.
“Dad loved me, loved my mum and his grandkids and, with his job, they were the most important things in his life. Mum and Dad separated when I was 15 but Dad absolutely adored Mum, and Mum adored Dad. They just fell out of love but Mum said they married for friendship, not love.
“Dad would save up his pennies so he could take her to the finest restaurants, Lake House, Bistro Terrior…and I love that he would get dressed up – the most overdressed person in Daylesford – to take mum out and spoil her. He probably worked for two months just to be able to do that.”
Natasha said Serge was born in Russia and came to Australia by boat with his family when he was 15. He had a hard childhood with parents who were always battling to make ends meet.
“But when my friends met him they always thought he came across as the wealthiest man in the world and he was, but it wasn’t with money, he was wealthy with the pride and love he had for his family and his work. He gave everything he had, every day.”
Natasha said over the past few months, Serge had changed a little and perhaps knew deep down that he was not well.
“But he didn’t change and he wasn’t going to change his life. And I take comfort that he was not ill for a long time because my Dad would never have done that well. He has died a proud man and done it his way.
“And I also take comfort in how much people loved him. I always knew people did love and respect him but not to the extent we are hearing. It is a real blessing for our family. He never really talked about that – but I am sure he knew how much people cared about him.”
Natasha said there would be a private cremation, with Serge’s ashes to be scattered on Lake Daylesford, and a service which was still being arranged while family members travelled from interstate.
“Dad always said he could never walk around the lake ‘so just throw me in the middle’, which means he will be laid to rest there, which is beautiful.”
Serge is survived by his ex-wife Sue, daughter Natasha, son-in-law Edward and grandchildren Billy, 10, and Flossy, seven.