Kuorikoski leaves lasting legacy

BUNDABERG lost a champion for sport and the community at large when Victor "Vic" Kuorikoski died suddenly on November 20 at the age of 93.

Vic was born in the city on October 16, 1928, to the late John and Violet Kuorikoski who were descendants of early pioneering families of the district.

He had two younger sisters Joan and Daphne, who died in 1993 and 1974 respectively, and he attended Central Primary and Bundaberg Intermediate and High Schools and university in Brisbane to finalise his Engineering Degree.

Vic joined the Navy towards the end of World War II and was engaged in clearing sea mines from the waters of the South West Pacific Ocean, Solomon Islands and North Great Barrier Reef, serving mainly on the HMAS Swan.

On June 20, 1953, as a result of a blind date, he married Pearl Leslie, from Elliott Heads, and they built their first and only home in De Gunst St, and they went on to have five children, Gail, Stephen, Carol, Vicky and Leslie.

After discharge from the Navy in 1948, he was cadeted to the then Fairymead Sugar Company through the post-WWII reconstruction scheme as a draughtsman with a contract to undertake engineering studies.

Vic was employed at Fairymead Mill for 44 years, advancing through the ranks to chief engineering draughtsman, first aid officer and safety officer.

He played an integral part in the early design and development of whole stick sugar cane harvesters, along with the fabrication and steel work in the Bundaberg Civic Centre, a number of city churches, the Bundaberg Marching Association (BMA) Hall and Bundaberg Athletics Club (BAC) facility.

Vic spent several short periods on loan to the Bundaberg Foundry working for the advancement of the local and Australian Sugar Industry and he also engaged in milling design to establish modern sugar milling in South East Asia.

He was a foundation member of the South Queensland Institute of Sugar Industry Engineers and is a Life Member of this organisation.

In his youth, Vic was a prominent participant in sports, representing at rugby league and cricket, playing locally for Combines against players such as Test icon Don Tallon, and he also represented the Navy at rugby and boxing.

Later Vic became very active in sports administration for over 40 years, starting with marching, for 13 years as BMA president and eight years on the State executive including five years as president.

Vic was awarded life membership of the BMA and state and national associations.

For a number of years, he was a Bundaberg Race Club committee member and officiating steward.

For many years Vic was also a BAC executive member, including as president and during this term, he was a driving force in relocating the club from Drinan Park to its present site in University Drive, which the club appropriately named Kuorikoski Oval.

Vic officiated at the 1994 World Masters Games as a track and field official, and for services to Queensland Athletics, Vic received a Meritorious Service Award in 1996 and Life Membership in 1997.

He also received the 1981 Sportsmen's Association of Australia (SAA) (Bundaberg Division) Service To Sport Award and 1994 Bundaberg City Council Sports Administrator of the Year award.

He became a long serving committee member of the SAA (Bundaberg) including terms as president and vice-president and was later bestowed with Life Membership of that association.

In 1985, the "Year of the Youth", Vic was a member of the Bundaberg and District Coordinating Committee and the Youth Affairs Award Selection Committee.

He was a member of the Wide Bay Sport and Recreation Council and a committee that tried to establish a Queensland Academy of Sport branch in Bundaberg, and he was awarded an Australian Sports Medal 2000 for his contribution to the Pre-Olympic Taskforce 2000 Committee.

Vic was also involved in the Anglican Men's Society and assisted Bundaberg Basketball in planning for some of its upgrades.

Vic is survived by his wife Pearl, five children, 11 grand-children and four great-grand children.

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