FAREWELL: Bundaberg’s Herb Woodward passed away at 102 and 6 months old. PHOTO: Contributed.
FAREWELL: Bundaberg’s Herb Woodward passed away at 102 and 6 months old. PHOTO: Contributed.

TRUE GEM: Beloved veteran ‘Herbie’ farewelled at 102

"He was the man about town who could give you a grin and a wink that would light up your life."

That's how Herbert Adam Woodward's great-grandchild Tahlia Facer, described her beloved great-grandfather.

Living a full and rewarding life, 'Herbie' passed away on December 29, 2020 at 102 years and 6 months old.

The veteran was farewelled by loved ones, veterans and masons at his funeral on Tuesday.

Celebration of Life was held at the Christ Church, Anglican Church on Maryborough St where Mrs Facer read the eulogy and there was a visual presentation, followed by a Masonic Ceremony and Ceremony of Commemoration.

Mrs Facer said the service was well attended, probably nearing the 160 person capacity of the church, to honour Mr Woodward.

He was carried out by his grandsons and great grandsons.

Mr Woodward shared his life with wives Zara and then Alma, and leaves behind two daughters, five grandsons, 15 great-grandchildren and five great-greatgrandchildren.

 

SERVICE: Herb Woodward served in New Guinea in 1944-45.
SERVICE: Herb Woodward served in New Guinea in 1944-45.

Born in Bundaberg on June 9, 1918, he was the third born of five children to parents Herbert and Emma.

She said Mr Woodward was raised on a cane farm and recalled walking the two miles to and from school each day, until he became the proud new owner of a pony.

"From cutting and loading sugar cane and other farm work, to carpentry and serving in New Guinea, Herb knew physical labour," Mrs Facer said.

"Herb developed a passion for fossicking, and the beautiful blue Sapphire gemstone captured Herb's heart.

"While he enjoyed finding, cutting and polishing the stones, his favourite part was giving them away to people that had also become captivated by their beauty."

 

GEM: Herb Woodward with his gemstones that he found, cut and polished himself.
GEM: Herb Woodward with his gemstones that he found, cut and polished himself.

Rather than diamonds in her wedding ring, Mrs Facer used white sapphires as a nod to her great grandfather.

"I had the privilege of knowing him for 28 years," she said.

"Not many people get to say that about their great-grandparents.

"Our relationship blossomed when I was about three or four.

"Instead of going to daycare full time, I got to spend days with great-grandad and Nana at the family home he had built in Elizabeth St.

"We would often go walking to the duck pond at Lake Ellen, and I even had him fix me a walking stick so we could match."

 

MAN ABOUT TOWN: Herb Woodward walks across Bourbong Street near Avenell's, circa 1950.
MAN ABOUT TOWN: Herb Woodward walks across Bourbong Street near Avenell's, circa 1950.

Mrs Facer said in later years they bonded over photography and journalism after finding

shared interests in visual and written storytelling, and the odd joke or two.

"Somehow, Herb found a way of connecting with everyone," she said.

In retirement Herb also enjoyed wood-turning and golf.

She said Legacy and Masonry became Herb's life, having reached just shy of 70 years with the Mulgrave Lodge.

"One such competition Herb was involved in with the Masonic Order was to approach State Schools in the Bundaberg area and judge their grade 4 students handwriting," Mrs Facer said.

"The winning student won a $60 voucher, a library book, and a plaque was presented to the school.

"I still remember being in grade 4 and having Herb at my school to judge my and my peer's handwriting.

"I must admit, I thought I had it in the bag. But in true Herb style, never one to let bias cloud his judgment, he gave the award to my best friend instead."

When Mrs Facer asked why he hadn't awarded first prize to her, he simply said her cursive needed some work.

Well known throughout the Bundaberg community, Mr Woodward was one of the men to take the salute during the Bundaberg 2019 Anzac Day parade and often spotted grabbing a coffee from Alowishus.

 

Herbert Woodward taking the salute during the Bundaberg 2019 Anzac Day parade.
Herbert Woodward taking the salute during the Bundaberg 2019 Anzac Day parade.

On his 100th birthday he was still living in the house he built and said he had just one secret for a long life.

"I just refuse to grow old," Mr Woodward said.

Exercise, he said, was important, but too much stress on the body wasn't a good idea.

"If you're going to walk, get some good shoes with a nice soft sole so when you put your foot down it doesn't jar your knees," he said.

"And don't lose your temper - the one who loses their temper loses the argument. Sometimes letting things go back to the keeper is the best thing you can do."

 

 

Rodney Stehbens, Herbert 'Herbie' Woodward and Michael Stehbens.
Rodney Stehbens, Herbert 'Herbie' Woodward and Michael Stehbens.

Mrs Facer said "May you forever rest in peace, knowing you will always live in the memories of each and every one of us".

 

102 YEARS: Herbert Adam Woodward. Photo: Contributed.
102 YEARS: Herbert Adam Woodward. Photo: Contributed.

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