Tribute to beloved Gympie dad and community stalwart
WELL known Gympie region banker, farmer, sawmiller, caterer, cricketer, marksman, groundsman and horse racing identity, Geoffrey Charles Reisenleiter was a man who loved his life and his family.
And they kept him busy too, his daughter Trena-Jane Rowlands recalled yesterday.
"He would drop everything to help us,” she said.
Mr Reisenleiter died on Saturday after an illness, only a couple of weeks before his 76th birthday, which would have been celebrated on September 23.
He leaves his widow Thelma, also well known for her work in the Gympie region community.
His children, Trent and Trena-Jane had two children each.
"Trent married Jonelle and they had the two girls (Maggie and Hillary).
"Lance is my husband and we had the two boys (Kahn and Dayne),” Mrs Rowlands said.
"The thing about Dad, he wanted to live,” Mrs Rowlands said yesterday.
"He was such a big part of our family and he adored his four grandchildren. And they loved him.
"He was ill but he was never alone through his illness.
"The kids just loved him and they just wanted to be with him.
"He would have done anything to live even for another minute or another day, so he could be with us.
"Dad was an incredible grandfather,” she said.
His son Trent recalled some of the details of an almost incredibly active and varied life.
"He started with Westpac as a bank teller and he farmed at Mooloo, growing mangoes, avocados, eggplant, beans, capsicum and grazing cattle.
"He went from there to the sawmills at Pie Creek and Melawondi.”
Mr Reisenleiter said his father had worked as groundsman at the Gympie South State School, where he and his sister began their education.
In amongst all that, Geoff and Thelma ran a catering business "for more than 30 years, I believe,” Mr Reisenleiter said.
"They were catering most weekends.
"They would do functions, including weddings, birthdays, sporting celebrations and balls.”
The Masonic Ball and the debutante balls were on their client list.
The venues they worked in included the Civic Centre, the Senior Citizens Centre, the Albert Bowls Club and the Gympie Golf Club.
"Sometimes they would have two or three functions in a weekend, with between 100 and 200 people at each.
"They were, in their day, the major caterers in Gympie.
"His other love was the 'Sport of Kings' and he worked for years at the Gympie horse races.
"He would work at the races all day Saturday and then start on the catering, although we always questioned whether the races was really a job for him.
"He loved working with the bookmakers, handling the money and calling the odds.”
He was a great sportsman and captained Wests Cricket Club in Gympie for years.
"And he loved to go pig shooting out west.”
"Dad worked very hard to give us a good life,” Mrs Rowlands said.
Geoffrey Reisenleiter will be remembered by family and his many friends at a celebration of his life, to be held at St Patrick's Church, in Church Street, Gympie, this Friday at 1.30pm.