John Walsh's life will be celebrated during a memorial service in November.
John Walsh's life will be celebrated during a memorial service in November.

Family reflects on John’s special life

JOSEPH ‘John’ Walsh passed away on September 4 and was cremated three days later. Memories of his life will be shared next month at a funeral service family, friends and former co-workers are invited to attend.

Known as John by all, he was in fact born Joseph Arthur John Walsh at Gin Gin Hospital to Hilda Margaret Anttela and Arthur Francis Walsh on September 21, 1933.

He had an older sister, Elizabeth.

After attending Wallaville School, Mr Walsh, aged 15, went to work at the Wallaville Sugar Mill.

It was here he met his future wife, Agnes Bernadette Barfield, who worked at the mill as a sugar chemist.

They were married on June 1, 1957, in St Francis Xavier Church, Bridge Rd, West Mackay, and had two daughters, Mary and Bernadette (dec).

Upon marriage he also inherited 52 nieces and nephews, thanks to his wife’s eight siblings.

Mr Walsh spent nearly 50 years working in the sugar industry.

Studying and working to become a mill shift engineer, he worked at various sugar mills including Farleigh in 1957, North Eton in 1964, Marian in 1967 and Racecourse from 1974 to 1994.

While living at North Eton, he organised and arranged for the transport of the North Eton Mill Tower Bell and had it erected on the top of the hill, beside Eton Catholic Church on Calvary Hill.

He was a champion duck breeder who won many championship trophies, ribbons and certificates in Mackay and travelled to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

As a sportsman he started off running and playing tennis and matured to become a lawn bowls player.

He was also a very keen freshwater fisherman.

In his late years, the highlight of his day was the hot meal delivered by Meals on Wheels.

He was known to sit on his patio waiting for the Meals on Wheels car, then go inside and serenade them with a record of Strauss Waltzes, Bing Crosby and Neil Diamond.

Mr Walsh’s funeral will be at Walkerston Cemetery on Saturday, November 2 at 4pm.

— Information contributed by Mr Walsh’s daughter, Mary Walsh, and grandson Nicholas Jones.