John Channon Lewis (6.9.30-13.10.2018)
John was born in Alberton South Australia to parents Reg and Florence Lewis on September 6 1930. John's early days of schooling involved several as his father, a bank manager was transferred to various centres including Quorn and later to Victor Harbor where he completed Year eight and nine with distinction. His parents then decided to enrol him at Scotch College as a boarder to complete his studies. Not only did he excel in academic studies, but he captained the second eighteen at football, but took out the U16 cup for running and also the high jump. John’s first job was with Vacuum Oil Co, now Mobil and he was able to live in Adelaide with his parents as they had since moved back. He enjoyed his line of employment for many reasons for he was transferred to New Guinea then Fiji which was very exciting for a young gun and the experience invaluable for his further promotions. John has met wife to be Margaret prior to departing to the islands at a dance at the 'Palais' on North Terrace whilst on leave. Margaret soon after moved to New Zealand to work and on a whim decided to visit John in Fiji to 'check him out'. Obviously, he passed the test for the two were married in the Lake Varley district, Margaret's home town which is situated way out in the country side from Perth on March 10, 1956. Every member of the small farming community gathered for the happy occasion, some three hundred of them.
In September 1956, John and Margaret travelled to Whyalla to reside with John in charge of a huge region as the state rep for Vacuum Oil Co. Cedunda, Tennant Creek and back of Bourke were all included in John's zone and with no radio, no phones and no air conditioning in the self owned vehicle he drive, life was 'tough'. His employment ended with the Oil Co in 1958 and from there it was business ventures aplenty, with a business brain John had success in everything he tackled. From a milk round that necessitated a 3.00am start then on to Northern Agencies (partnership) with Tom O'Brien and Brian Flanagan to work for the remainder of the day. The milk round was a 7 day week exercise so one had to have loads of stamina. John retired from the agency in 1992, however prior to his retirement he and Dr Greg Markey delved into the wine market, investing in their own estate and for 10 years, John was a partner. During that time, their Riesling won the McLaren Vale festival, that was certainly a highlight.
John and Margaret celebrated 62 years of a very happy marriage with four children resulting. Sharyn, Dean, Angela and Wayne have all excelled in their chosen careers making their (family man) John as proud as punch along with wife Margaret whose exquisite needle work, gardening prowess and golfing ability made him puff his chest out. John joined the golf club in 1956 and just loved the sport. His long serving list of working commitments withing the club earned him life membership and he was so proud of that achievement. Adding to the list also includes president of the Apex Club, president and Paul Harris fellow of the Rotary Club, Councillor for seven years on the city council, Chairman of Whyalla Tourism Council during that time, life member of the Whyalla Economic Development Board and a board member of Yeltana (aged care nursing home). What a list of credentials!
John coached the Weeroona Bay Under 10s to a premiership - that being the first for the club since its induction. Margaret and John travelled with friends to many golf tournaments over the years throughout SA, Vic and NSW and enjoyed the camaraderie these trips created. It was not that he demanded attention, it may have been the topic, or maybe his well chosen words, but when John spoke the quality and tone of his voice made all around sit up and take notice. I know I did.
There were no grey areas with John just black and white (and a smidgen of teal for good measure). He was a Port Magpie and Port Power through and through. No wonder! His grandfather was a Port Adelaide mayor so it all goes back in time. John was an outstanding human being who lived his life with integrity to the end. An honest gentleman who was an inspiration to us all. Whyalla was just so fortunate to have such a dedicated citizen who gave his all to our community. May he rest in peace.