VALE: Austin Grillmeier (left) will be remembered by his family and friends as a giving, compassionate man
VALE: Austin Grillmeier (left) will be remembered by his family and friends as a giving, compassionate man

'It doesn't feel real' Austin remembered by family

WHEN Allie Grillmeier was in her father's arms she was in the safest place in the world, but since Austin Grillmeier died, the feeling is just a memory.

The "caring, genuine and loving man” who was always on a mission to help, signed off on his assignment called life on Monday, August 5.

The decades he spent volunteering for Rotary, church and other projects came to an end when the "healthy and active” 74-year-old Rockhampton engineer was struck down by the flu about two weeks ago.

"No one said he looked 74,” Allie said.

"At 70 he was fitter than me.”

Austin Grillmeier will be remembered as a giving, compassionate man
Austin Grillmeier will be remembered as a giving, compassionate man

Mr Grillmeier went to hospital on Saturday, July 28, feeling poorly but within 24 hours he took a turn for the worst.

The next night he suffered a heart attack and spent the next week slowly slipping away from his loved ones.

As physiotherapists, his wife Jenny Grillmeier and Allie said they coped through the process by seeing their beloved husband and dad as their patient.

"It doesn't feel like he's gone. It feels like he is away - it doesn't feel real,” Allie said.

But the reality is one they will have to face after they lay him to rest on Sunday.

VALE: Austin Grillmeier and Jenny Grillmeier at the River Festival last year. Mr Grillmeier died from flu on Monday.
VALE: Austin Grillmeier and Jenny Grillmeier at the River Festival last year. Mr Grillmeier died from flu on Monday. Liam Fahey

His compassion and determination are just two traits Mrs Grillmeier will remember him for. She said there was rarely a moment where he wasn't doing something for someone.

"He really liked people,” Mrs Grillmeier said.

"He really enjoyed people bringing a problem to him and working through to find a solution.”

In the 1970s Mr Grillmeier made his first trip to Africa to volunteer as a maintenance man at a mission hospital.

Mrs Grillmeier reminisced about the time he spent preparing a room for an x-ray machine using the scarce materials he had on hand.

Rebecca Hack, Austin Grillmeier and Don Wilschefski. Bring Back the Sunshine Flood Appeal Charity Day on Mount Archer.
Rebecca Hack, Austin Grillmeier and Don Wilschefski. Bring Back the Sunshine Flood Appeal Charity Day on Mount Archer. Sharyn O'Neill

Years later he returned to the continent to help build an orphanage.

"He would take on anything, it's just what he did,” Jenny said.

After working for an engineering company for more than 30 years, Mr Grillmeier opened his own business at 70 years old to provide people with affordable engineering and give those who couldn't afford an engineer that chance.

"He often ran late but he would always take the time to make sure people had given all the information he needed,” Jenny said.

Austin Grillmeier will be remembered by his family and friends as a giving, compassionate man
Austin Grillmeier will be remembered by his family and friends as a giving, compassionate man

His experience in the industry was extensive, those who held him dear don't have to look far to be reminded of their father, husband and friend.

He was part of the team who worked on the construction of the Zilzie Bay Great Barrier Reef International Resort, the Rockhampton Seventh-day Adventist Church and many structures throughout the town.

He also worked on major roads in Brisbane and many streets in Emerald.

Allie is still discovering projects her father worked on both professionally and for charity - she said learning more about her dad would keep her company for the years to come.

But no matter how many projects he was involved with he was always the positive force keeping his family protected.

"He would always be like 'let's find a way and lets work around that,” Allie said.

"He was just the person you could always talk to and be there for a shoulder to cry on.”

It was only when he was struck down by the flu, his family saw his energy, passion and determination slowly slip away as they watched their strong, supportive Dad disappear before their eyes.

Mrs Grillmeier, Allie and her brother Nik will celebrate his life this Sunday at Korte's Resort at 11am - they welcomed everyone who knew him to attend.



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