View Full Version : What a man.....

4th Jun 2012, 15:24
My Grandfather Bill just passed away...

99&1/2 years old. He did his plumbing apprenticeship in the 1920's, still did the odd plumbing job until about 5 years ago. (not a fan of PVC, copper is the go)
He tried to join up for WW2 but was told too old, at 28! later rejected because of his reserved occupation. During the war he fabricated and installed air conditioning systems on ships for the Pacific war. Probably explains why he told me a few years back he had been diagnosed with Asbestosis on one lung (only one!).
Having spent a 70 odd year working life on building sites of all descriptions, Grandad knew just about everything, no exaggeration: Plumbing, welding, brazing, roofing, building, fencing, trenching, electrical, mechanical, you name it. He'd probably done it, and very well.
To put it perspective, Bill was born the year the Titanic sunk, 2 years before World War One began. He told me about the first aeroplane he ever saw, a flimsy biplane on some exhibition tour, yet later he marvelled in flying in comfort on jet aircraft.
When Bill was young, there was no radio, no TV, no Facebook. Poor buggers, they socialized instead I suppose. I guess they conversed and or maybe read a book in poor light. Whatever they did, what a fine fine man he was. Humble, generous and all those good things.
My apologies for getting sentimental, I suppose this is my tribute to my Grandad. I'll never forget him....

4th Jun 2012, 15:30
A fine tribute. My dear old grandfather "only" got to 95 3/4. Similar sort of character. :D

4th Jun 2012, 15:39
Onya mate. A fine tribute to an obviously fine man.

My dad's dad was born well before the Wright Brothers did their bit and he was wounded on the opening day of the Somme.

Yet he lived to watch men on the moon and fly over Biscay at Mach 2!

4th Jun 2012, 15:39
Tribute welcomed, Octane, commiserations and condolances. I can only hope he had an easy passing.

In my hotel in Paris on Sunday morning I met a 97-year-old American professor who'd been lecturing in Paris and was on his way to Bologna to give a talk. Walking stick necessary but suitcase in the other hand: a bit hesitant in movement but continuing to do his job. Really, the only way to treat old age: never surrender until the Grim Reaper comes for you.

Raise a glass to all such folk !

4th Jun 2012, 15:46
`To all such folk` and Octane`s Grampa, good on y`mate, nice tribute. My condolences.

4th Jun 2012, 17:14
Another :ok: from me to all such characters. What a shame that pprune doesn't allow one to 'like','dislike' other posts.


wings folded
4th Jun 2012, 17:45
Commiserations on your loss.

The way you write of him is the best illustration of life after death.

Be thankful for him, folk like him and memories you have.

My grandad had a bit of a fight with a shell in 1917. The shell won. Always thought that it was a pity.

Worrals in the wilds
4th Jun 2012, 18:49
Sorry to hear that, Octane.
Nice obituary. :ok:

DX Wombat
4th Jun 2012, 18:59
Hear! Hear!

4th Jun 2012, 19:46
My sympathies also, Octane.

It's the determination and high standards that impressed me the most with that generation.

Both my Grandfathers were medically refused Service in WWII, and had reserved occupations. Both found other doctors and joined up anyway. One fixed the flak holes in Lancasters, and the other was in charge of the engine electrics at the Mosquito factory. The second also volunteered to maintain the electrics at a hospital for war wounded, and ended up developing and patenting a portable lung draining pump.

One only hopes to emulate them.

4th Jun 2012, 21:12
My condolences Octane, respects to your grandads memory

4th Jun 2012, 23:19
My condolences also Octane. A remarkable man, and to live such a long life and see such changes.

You made me remember, again, my own mothers father, and if not intruding, would like to recount some of my knowledge of his 96 years.
Born in Vienna, he trained at an agricultural college to be a farm manager then served his National Service in Franz Joseph's army in 1900-1903, tramping over Bosnia-Herzegovina no doubt dealing with rebellious subjects of the Empire. Made a sergeant, by the end of it he had had enough, and caught ship for distant fields. Perhaps he meant originally to go to Argentina, but he landed in North Queensland, worked for a German in the mines at Mount Molloy then took up a virgin piece of rainforest scrub at Geraldlton(later called Innisfail), and carved a canefarm from it. Sending back to Vienna for his sweetheart to join him, they were married when she arrived, and later Mum was born in 1911. In 1916, grandmother died of peritonitis, and grandfather coped with the four young children on the farm, -the youngest my Aunt 'Lily' who was seventeen months old at that time passed away only six weeks ago at Dalby at the grand old age of 97 and a half.
One can only imagine the trials and taunts that an Austrian in North Australia endured while farming during the First World War.
After the war, sale of the farm, a move south to Stanthorpe and Coolangatta, remarriage to an Englishwoman for the childrens upbringing and careers, lead to my own memories of him from when as a lad we holidayed at Southport in the '50's.
A tall man, with a strong accent, non smoker, rarely drank, loved a game of draughts on the oversize board under the Moreton Bay Fig tree by the Pier on the Broardwater with other retirees, his secret of a long life was 'Do things in moderation'. He loved reading, and in his later years, in the '60's and '70's when he had glaucoma, it was painful to see him make stronger and stronger 'telescopes' so he could still do some. The mind was still clear even though the eyes weren't. He had seen many changes. Asked him once, what he thought of Freud - Didn't think much of him at all.. He also saw (barely) Armstrong walk on the Moon.
Had just gone overseas for the first time in '78 when Mum advised that he had gone. His ashes are in my local cemetry. What a man.

5th Jun 2012, 01:55
That's a nice, touching tribute to your Grandfather, who sounded like a terrific man.

A man who saw, and lived a lot.

Thank you for sharing your tribute.

5th Jun 2012, 02:35
Condolances to you and your family Octane. That was a wonderful tribute to your Grandad.

5th Jun 2012, 02:53
It is great remembering and honouring people like these. Thanks for the privilege of knowing a little about them.

5th Jun 2012, 13:28
Thank you everyone for your kind remarks. Much appreciated.
I must confess I had a few reds last night (well, more than a couple!) before I posted. Isn't it interesting, I wouldn't have done it if sober. Sometimes a bit of booze can be a good thing perhaps! Helps to reflect and verbalize your thoughts....
Thanks again


5th Jun 2012, 16:50
dear Octane,
isn't is weird we need reds to share what's really worth sharing?!
I'm glad you did it.

My Dad (80) is of the same brand.
I wish we were, too... :D

5th Jun 2012, 21:02
Tip of the cap to your granddad ... seems they don't make men like him anymore. :(

5th Jun 2012, 21:38
Congratulations to your grandfather, Octane.

My maternal grandfather died (at my current age) when I was just 7 years old, but I sustain his memory in 'heaven' whenever I think about him (such as when I read about others).

I was talking about him yesterday with representatives of Beamish Museum (who have a garage workshop that is just like the one that I remember from my grandfather's garage - he was a garage proprietor).

Cherish your memories of your grandfather, and, as wings folded has pointed out, keep him 'in heaven' . . .

5th Jun 2012, 23:57
My grandfather on my dad's side died in a knife fight over a card game, but my dad kicked my sorry ass enough for me to become an airline pilot for a major airline (on the other side of the pond).

Blue skies Dad !

Honours to your grandfather Octane .:ok: