VALE: Hervey Bay community leader made a big difference
BEING involved in a car crash isn't usually considered good fortune.
But for Hervey Bay community leader Peter Crawford, it led to him meeting the love of his life.
Peter died at Torbay Retirement Village in Torquay on February 14, leaving behind two children, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But the memories of a man who made a difference in the Fraser Coast community will be long remembered.
His son, Jim Crawford, told the Chronicle what a remarkable man his father was.
Born in Sydney in 1931, Peter was the son of Albert, better known as Jack, and Iris Crawford.
Peter grew up in Chatswood in Sydney, training as a Bush Brother with the Presbyterian Church.
He also worked as a salesman for a company selling dental supplies.
While he was working for the company, he was involved in a car crash on a railway crossing near Nyngan.
It must have been fate because while he was in hospital he met a nurse named Mary Wass.
The two would go on to marry in 1953 and they spent the next 63 years together until Mary's death in 2016.
Shortly after the wedding they moved to Queensland and Peter worked as a property hand at Surat.
A year later they moved to Chinchilla, where both their children were born.
Peter took a job as manager of a cattle station at Hay in NSW and later worked in a similar role in Bathurst.
In 1966, he applied to become manager of a cattle station on the Fijian island of Viti Levu.
When he got the job, the family moved overseas and lived on the island until 1972, when the property was bought by the Fijian government.
The family then moved to Tea Gardens in NSW where Peter continued his work at a new cattle station development.
After retiring from the cattle industry, Peter and Mary travelled overseas before operating a newsagency in Bulahdelah for several years.
They then moved to Hervey Bay to retire, this time for good, spending the next 23 years in the Whale City.
"During their time in Hervey Bay mum and dad were involved in a number of voluntary community organisations," Jim said.
Peter was the Commodore of Air Sea Rescue, now called Volunteer Marine Rescue, and Mary was on the committee.
They were both keen members of Hervey Bay's Probus Club, with Jim becoming president during his time.
"Mum and dad really loved Hervey Bay and found years of happiness there during their retirement," Jim said.
After Mary's death, Peter moved into Torbay Retirement Village.
"He loved it there and loved all the staff," Jim said.
"Dad and mum made friends everywhere they went, and have stayed in touch with them, in some cases for over 60 years."
Margaret Hurley, also a member of the Probus club, said Peter would be sadly missed.
"He was a very valued member of our club," she said. "He helped a lot of our members."