Fruit stand man laid to rest
John Neville Smith, 86. January 13, 1926 – September 8, 2012.
JOHNwas the eldest son of John (Jack) Nash Smith and Lena Violet Neville.
His parents met on the ship coming from England in 1923 and married in 1925.
John was born in Childers, where his father managed a cane farm, and shortly afterwards the family moved to Ideraway, Gayndah, where they had a dairy farm and pigs. John recalled milking the 30 cows by hand and delivering cream three days a week to the local rail in a horse-drawn sulky.
He often recalled milking the cows and feeding the pigs beforewalking three miles to school. Onthe return journey he would stop at the Ideraway homestead for afternoon tea before walking home to do it all again.
John joined Scouts in his teens, riding his bicycle to town for the meetings. With his brother Eddie, he joined the CMF when the Second WorldWar started and had to leave school to help his father with the farm, where they then grew cotton.
The Smith Family had one of the four founding citrus orchards in the district. And John, along with his father, instigated the first Orange Festival in 1957, with the parade still being led by a tree and a member of the extended Smith Family today.
John sailed to England in 1952 and travelled around Europe for almost six months. On his return home he got the courage to ask a nicelooking young girl for a dance at a ball at the Town Hall, which led him to marry Ena Margaret Tuche six months later on May 28, 1955.
A family was soon to follow, with Annemaree in 1956, Neville 1959, Janette in 1960 and unexpected twins Kevin and Lawrence in 1963.
John decided to move on from the family orchard, working for Frank and Allison Robinson and Angus McGilvery on weekends, before starting his own citrus nursery.
He later bought a house in town and grew his own orchard at Johena, purchasing Golden Acres at O’Bil Bil, which Kevin and Lawrence worked, and then grazing land at Kajabbi, seeing the potential for an orchard.
John’s other love was Rotary. He religiously attended and received many 100% attendance awards, and was awarded the highest honour, the Paul Harris Fellowship, in 1995. He also hosted Rotary exchange students and International Agricultural Exchanges.
John was very civic-minded, helping with many organisations, including helping his wife Ena with the civic concerts and community functions for Guides, Show Society and Rotary.
He was also generous in donations to different charities, especially the then 4SB Mothers’ Day auction for the Spastic Appeal and Rotary’s Polio Plus Appeal.
The loss of his eldest grandson, Marc, from a tragic accident in 2006, and his nephewMarkin 2010, were difficult times.
John did not handle retirement well, and will probably be remembered in his later years for his fruit stand, where he sold the pumpkins, watermelons and rockmelons he had grown, and citrus, honey and peanuts, and enjoyed talking to the customers.
John is survived by his wife Ena, children Annemaree, Neville, Janette, Kevin and Lawrence, grandchildren Renee, Jacqui, Bryan and Tanya and great-grandchildren Allie, Ashton and Casey.
John Neville Smith, 1926-2012.