Mildura Weekly : Friday February 14 2014 Vol 8 No 15
www.milduraweekly.com.au 22 Mildura Weekly – 14/02/14 • From Page 21 Jim had often said that there were a few eyebrows raised, especially in ethnic circles, when the gorgeous young blonde with peaches and cream complexion mar- ried the local Greek boy. It was the first mixed culture marriages in the area. Jim and Betty bought a fruit property in Chowilla Street, Renmark, and built a house where they lived for the next 66 years. There was some heart- break, when the couple lost five near-term babies, but later adopted two children, Kathryn at six days old, and Geoffrey at 18 months. Jim and Betty worked hard. Jim had the first French plough in Renmark, and would work on his trac- tor ploughing other people’s properties from daylight to dusk, while Betty looked after the fruit property dur- ing the day. One fruit season Jim broke three fingers in a farm accident, and later told how he didn’t have time to go to the doctor’s. He simply strapped them up, and kept ploughing. After a lifetime of work, he and Betty sold the property in 1983, but he continued working for Jim Broomel and Bill Cropper until he was nearly 80. Jim was almost one of the fixtures at the Renmark Football club. He always claimed it felt like he was a dinky-di Australian, and he loved mixing with younger people as it made him feel young. The family lived and breathed football, and Jim was involved in the club for more than 30 years from the mid-40s. He particularly liked watching his young son Geoff play football. Jim said the footy club was like family to him. He served on the committee, was the club trainer and ‘sprigger’ (replacing the sprigs on football boots), and Kathryn remembers the tap, tap, tap of his ham- mer into the late hours of a night. His valuable long- time contribution was recog- nised with life membership of Renmark Rovers. Jim always spoke of the highlight of the year was go- ing away on football trips with the boys, and reminded everyone of the age-old footy saying; “What happens on a football trip with the boys, stays on a football trip.” He was always a welcome guest at buck’s nights and wed- dings of ‘his’ boys. And he could take a joke. After one buck’s night at the local bak- ery, Betty awoke to see white footprints on the lino and carpet. The boys had covered Jim in flour! He had to ‘feel’ his way home, because his eyes were glued together by a mixture of flour and beer! Regular customers of the bakery that week apparently bought loaves of bread that contained beer bottle tops, cigarettes, matchsticks and other miscellaneous items... and more than likely liberal quantities of beer. Most cus- tomers, as the story goes, went back for another loaf. Jim was also actively in- volved in community affairs, and was a committee man on Renmark High School Council, Wine Grape Grow- ers Committee, Dried Fruits Association Board and Ren- mark Bowling Club. He rare- ly missed a working bee. A keen sportsman, he absolutely loved his game of bowls, and was a member of Renmark Bowling Club for nearly 30 years, winning many tournaments (includ- ing champion of champi- ons singles). He enjoyed the friendships he made, and bowlers were always happy to see him...especially as generous Jim supplied most of them with beautiful fresh produce from his large ve- gie garden.... along with any fresh fish he caught in the nearby Murray River. He and Betty also loved weekly charity bingo games, where they were regulars for 25 years. Friends remembered Jim as a popular, hard working, honest, welcoming and gen- erous man who had a repu- tation of always being well mannered, courteous and immaculate in his dress. He rarely complained, and was always there to help others in need, or a good cause. In his twilight years, as he developed Alzheimer’s Disease, he was sad when he recognised that his brain didn’t appear to be working like it used to. About the same time, Betty was diag- nosed with Motor Neuron Disease. They went into hos- tel care at Renmark/Paringa Hospital complex about six years ago, a heartbreaking time for the loving couple, and their family. “All Dad wanted to do was go back home,” daugh- ter Kathryn said. “We lost Mum four years ago, and Dad was forever searching for her at the complex. He never gave up looking for her, right up to his death. He couldn’t remember a lot of the past, but he never forgot Mum.” After a bad fall just be- fore Christmas, Jim was air- lifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for surgery, but developed pneumonia after the operation, and passed away on December 20. “He had told us he wanted to live to 100, but it wasn’t to be,” Kathryn said. Family and friends from throughout the Riverland attended the funeral service in Renmark, remembering Jim Joannou as a kind, hon- est, loving and hard-working man with a big heart, some- one with a keen sense of humour, a positive outlook on life, a love of family and friends, and above all, a gen- erous and good friend, and great company. IN THE RIVERLAND THIS WEEK We’ve lost a friend, and a man of the land OBITUARY Jim Joannou 1922 – 2013 • LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: Jim and Betty Joannou were inseparable after they met at a Renmark dance. They are pictured here soon after their wedding in 1944. RIGHT: Jim loved his bowls, and won many championship trophies in his 30-year sporting career.
Friday February 7 2014 Vol 8 No 14
February 21 2014 Vol 8 No 16