Farewell Charlie Crowden

Farewell Charlie Crowden

AUGUST 2017 | Lorraine Clarke

THE DELORAINE community was saddened recently to lose our oldest surviving WWII veteran.

Charles William Victory Crowden was born in Deloraine on Victory Day in 1918, hence his third name, scrawled on his birth certificate by a rejoicing midwife.

Apart from 7 years’ army service and some time on King Island, he lived his full life in Deloraine with wife Joyce, until she passed away in 2006.  On graduation from Hawkesbury Agriculture College, Charlie served as a dairy officer until 1983, and was a keen footballer for Deloraine in his younger years.

Since his retirement, Charlie continued a life of service to the district through participation in many groups.  He was involved in running the Deloraine Scout movement, and was Parade Marshall every Anzac Day for many years.

Charlie was a Life Member of various organisations ranging from Sydney’s 2nd 1st Aust. Infantry Battalion to Tasmania’s Mountain Huts Preservation Society, where he passed on his hut building skills and bush knowledge to younger generations, the Deloraine Walking Club, and St Mark’s Aged Care Homes.

In 1992, Charlie’s outstanding contribution to the community was recognised by the award of the Order of Australia Medal.

At his funeral, the Rev. Alan Bulmer recalled Charlie’s long history as Warden of St Mark’s Church in Deloraine, where his personal qualities of strong will and forthrightness were tempered by subtlety and encouragement.  He was Superintendent of the Sunday School at a time when over 100 children attended.

Charlie’s son Phil and daughter Rose Clark shared fond memories.  Rose remembered him as the health conscious kind and practical father who, having lived through the Depression, made many things for the family, from go-carts to his own stereo record player and speakers, and later delighted in sharing the natural world with his grandchildren.

Phil recalled, “Dad was the most selfless and generous person I have ever known and he never ignored or refused someone wanting assistance or advice.  Dad loved the simple things in life – the birds, the clouds, the sunrises and sunsets.  Dad loved fly fishing.  I remember him leaving the house well before dawn on a Saturday morning.  He would usually return home in time for morning tea with 12 rainbow trout.”

Charlie Crowden could remember the giant Californian Redwood tree in the garden of St Mark’s Church, as a small sapling, and the time when a passing car was a novelty.  His life spanned 98 years, filled to the brim with hard work, faith, love and selfless service to others.

 picture supplied