Tributes flow for beloved former Gympie councillor
FAMILY, friends and former colleagues have joined together to celebrate the life of former Mooloo farmer and Widgee Shire Councillor Rodney “Rod” Neale.
Mr Neale “passed away peacefully” at his family home in Elimbah on February 2 at the age of 89, with a celebration service held at his beloved Gympie Wesleyan Methodist Church on February 13.
A tireless worker revered for his commitment to seemingly countless committees and organisations around the region, Mr Neale was perhaps best known for serving 15 years as the Widgee Shire Council’s Division 2 representative between 1973 to 1988.
Also a passionate dairy farmer with a property at Mooloo he moved to in 1964, Mr Neale also served as chairman of the Pie Creek Queensland Dairymen’s Organisation branch, and was a member of its Wide Bay District Council.
Among his additional roles and achievements were as vice president of the Gympie branch of the Country party and delegate to the Gympie Electoral Council, senior vice president of the Gympie Kindergarten Association and treasurer of the Pie Creek Hall committee.
As secretary of the Pie Creek Water Board, Mr Neale also played a prominent role in the early progression of the Pie Creek water scheme.
He was involved in the formation of and served as chairman of the Gympie Community Place when it was known as the Centre Place, and helped people with their tax returns and finances with his background as an accountant.
Mr Neale’s daughter Miranda Wyllie remembered a man who loved his community and never tired of doing whatever he could to help it flourish.
“He was on that many different committees and held so many different positions, it was huge. It was just enormous,” Mrs Wyllie said.
“He loved his community and he was dedicated to it. I remember as a kid lots of times he’d be getting calls to go out and inspect roads, dirt roads after the rain and things like that, he’d go out there and inspect it and then he’d report back to council.
“He visited a lot of different people, he was a very practical man, he had a lot of common sense. He came up with lots of good ideas and I think that’s why he was on so many committees, because he was able to come up with a lot of solutions.”
A “very active” man right until the end, Mr Neale spent his final years with Miranda and her husband Carlisle at their property in Elimbah after selling his Mooloo farm.
Mrs Wyllie said her father’s celebration service went “really well” in the church where his family shared a connection with officiating pastor Gary McClintock.
“He was really quite active up until the last few weeks, he loved gardening. He had his garden at Mooloo with his chooks and his guinea fowls, we’ve got five acres down here so he was able to potter in the garden and that sort of thing,” she said.
“Gary’s father and my father were on council together. Adrian McClintock was a councillor and then chairman for quite a bit of the time that Dad was on council. Gary can remember going to things that we used to go to as well, like Christmas breakups and that sort of thing.”
Mr Neale is survived by his loving daughters Simone and Miranda and their families. He was the loved brother of Joan and Edith.