Olympian earned re­spect

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

FOR those of us who didn’t know him, Mervyn Cross­man was a cel­e­brated Olympian and lo­cal sport­ing iden­tity so highly re­spected that they named a road af­ter him.

But to those who knew him he was so much more than that. He was a hus­band, fa­ther, grand­fa­ther, brother, un­cle, cousin, friend, men­tor, and hero. He was a de­voted fam­ily man with a sweet tooth for choco­late who was mad about sports.

Mervyn Richard Cross­man was born on April 7, 1935 in Home Hill. He was the el­dest son of Richard and Alice Cross­man, and brother to Jef­frey ( de­ceased), Gary, Greg, and Carol. When Merv was two years old his fam­ily made the move north to Townsville where he later at­tended Rail­way Es­tate Pri­mary School.

His dad Richard was a taxi driver who met many of the Amer­i­can sol­diers sta­tioned in Townsville dur­ing World War II. The sol­diers would of­ten give Merv sneaky choco­lates, and so be­gan his life­long affin­ity with the treat.

The Cross­mans were a close- knit fam­ily. The boys would spend hours play­ing cricket which of­ten re­sulted in bro­ken win­dows. At the age of 12, un­be­known to his fa­ther, Merv started play­ing hockey and quickly started get­ting se­lected for rep­re­sen­ta­tive sides. Sport was a big part of Merv’s life. Apart from cricket he also played basketball, ten­nis and rugby league. In fact, for a short while he was be­ing paid to play rugby league but in those days the pay wasn’t enough to make it a pro­fes­sion. So Merv made the de­ci­sion to quit league and fo­cus on his big­ger pas­sion for hockey.

The move paid off and Merv was se­lected to com­pete in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. It was a dream that he was able to achieve through a lot of hard work and mo­ti­va­tion, all while hold­ing down a full- time job and train­ing without any of the help mod­ern- day ath­letes re­ceive.

He was proud to rep­re­sent his coun­try on the world stage. Un­for­tu­nately the team didn’t re­turn home with a medal but Merv had a sec­ond chance at the 1964 Games in Tokyo and won bronze.

Merv mar­ried the love of his life Ronda in 1961. Shortly af­ter their first child Robyn ar­rived, fol­lowed by Mar­cia.

Even af­ter he stopped play­ing hockey, Merv stayed heav­ily in­volved with the sport as a coach, um­pire and se­lec­tor.

His sta­tus as an Olympian and the re­spect he earned in the lo­cal sport­ing com­mu­nity saw him achieve an­other of his life’s proud­est mo­ments when he had Mervyn Cross­man Drive named af­ter him in 1971.

At the time he joked that that’s usu­ally the kind of hon­our re­served for those who have passed.

Later in life Merv dis­cov­ered a new sport to ex­cel at when he started play­ing lawn bowls.

Over the years he won numer­ous ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions and even had a stint as pres­i­dent of the Cutheringa Bowls Club.

Mervyn Richard Cross­man passed away on June 20, 2017.

Would you like an obit­u­ary writ­ten about your loved one? Con­tact Chris Sil­vini on 4722 4427 for con­sid­er­a­tion.

PROUD TO PLAY: Mervyn Cross­man rep­re­sented Aus­tralia at the Olympics.

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