True champion, on and off field
THE Bundaberg football community lost a local legend with the passing of Lou Tominich on December 21.
Lou was the force behind the formation of two local soccer clubs, Bargara in 1987 and Burnett Heads United in 1993.
He went on to coach both Bundaberg and Wide Bay Representative teams over the years.
Lou was born on July 16, 1955, in Brisbane, to Stelio and Rosa Tominich.
When he was two they moved to Sydney where Lou grew up and played the game he loved from the age of five for Melita Eagles (now Parramatta) and Apia FC.
He was lucky to have some great coaches including Rale Rasic, former Australian coach, as a teenager.
In 1976, Lou met the love of his life, Kim, and they were inseparable ever since.
They married and started their family with Michael arriving later that same year and Kristy following in 1979.
In 1981, Lou and Kim headed to Bargara, they fell in love with the town at first sight.
They sold up in Sydney and changed their lives in Bargara.
Then in 1984 their family was completed with the birth of Brett.
From the time Michael started school in 1982, kids started turning up to play soccer and soon Lou had a troop every afternoon. Gardens had no chance in the backyard or windows either.
Soon there was too many for the backyard and in 1987 Lou started Bargara soccer club with Kim's help and support.
The club continued to grow with Lou constantly encouraging kids to play and he nurtured many through to senior football and onto coaching as well.
This continued in 1993 when he helped form Burnett Heads United Soccer Club.
He continued to coach at all levels of the sport in Bundaberg and Wide Bay.
Over the years he has been a friend and mentor to hundreds of kids and adults, forming lifelong friendships along the way. The house was always full of kids.
In 1994, Lou and a bunch of Bundy players experienced the excitement of the World Masters Games, an experience that Lou talked about for the rest of his life especially playing against the Russian side.
Lou continued to play and coach until 2011 when he finally retired at 57.
Upon retiring he and Kim could start travelling, having several wonderful trips overseas and topping it off in 2014 with a trip to the World Cup In Brazil.
He also loved his music and attended many concerts around the country.
No trip was complete without a visit to soccer stadiums starting with Anfield the home of his beloved Liverpool.
In what was an immense shock Lou was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on February 16, 2016.
Lou met this battle head on and took every positive he could find to get him through the next 22 months.
He met every issue with courage and determination to find only a positive outlook, concentrating on making sure his children and grandchildren in particular could build some great memories together.
"The main lessons from Lou's journey was to get second and even third opinions, look for a doctor to be more positive and give a glimpse of hope because without it how do you battle any problem?” Kim said.
"Many doctors were very negative and it took meeting Dr Vikram Jain and his tremendous staff at the Friendlies Oncology Unit that changed that and we were able to turn three months into 22 months of valuable time.”
Lou was able to celebrate his granddaughter's 18th birthday with hot air ballooning and last year he and Kim celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
He continued to travel with a trip to Northern Territory then in September his final trip was to Cairns with Kim and his mum and his final concert was to see Elton John.
In the final days of his battle he continued to show courage and bravery and made these days as easy for his family as he could. He was always more concerned about those around him than himself.
Lou will be remembered as the kindest, gentlest man, atruly good man with a heart of gold that would do anything for anyone. He made friends easily and loved nothing more than a chat. The world has lost a wonderful human being.
Lou died at home surrounded by all his family, quietly and peacefully. He will be sadly missed by all whose lives he touched.