Vale, wood chopper with a heart of gold
HE WENT out the way most of us can only hope to: peacefully, on his own terms.
Morris Dingle, a woodchopping champion, cattle farmer and Mt Perry identity who "lived for his family”, died last Tuesday, January 10.
"We were shocked at first, but we shouldn't have been, really,” his son Lindsay said this week.
Morris held his own living wake in December 2015 when he learned he had terminal cancer, so he could have some "kisses and cuddles” while he was still around.
Family and friends travelled from as far as Brisbane, Banana, Biloela and Rockhampton to attend his funeral on Friday at his graveside in Mt Perry Cemetery, with tea afterwards at the family home of 140 years, The Retreat.
"Not many people can say they had two services,” Lindsay said with a laugh.
"He just enjoyed life, and above anything else he lived for his family.”
Cousin once removed, Canegrowers president Allan Dingle described Morris as "a friendly, big-hearted guy”.
"He was always a character, always dropping in for a chat, you could never get away from the bugger.”
Morris leaves behind five children, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, many of whom he instilled with the Dingle passion for chopping wood.
He came from humble beginnings, Lindsay said, working as a ringbarker and canecutter for 20 years before working his way up as a Braford breeder, at one point owning 4,000ha of land.
Morris was married to Myra, who he met at a dance in Mt Perry, for 59 years.
"Mum was a great cook, but he used to joke that she was terrible, and he had to eat all the mis-steaks,” Lindsay said.
As well as competing around Australia with the famous family woodchopping squad, he was keenly involved in the local community, including a stint as president of the Mount Perry Golf Club.
Former Hinkler MP Paul Neville described Morris as "larger than life”.
"I will remember you as warm hearted gentleman with a great sense of humour,” country music singer Phoebe Jay, who played at his 2015 celebration, wrote.