TRIBUTE: ’Frank was much loved by family and friends’
THE Rockhampton community farewelled much loved resident Frank Hick on December 31, 2019, with a beautiful tribute to a man who touched the lives of so many people.
The following is a copy of the eulogy read at the funeral.
Frank was born on April 12, 1937 and left this world on December 24, 2019. He was the second twin to Samuel and Ivy Hick
Frank was the youngest of five children; Carol, Muriel, John and twin brother Jeff.
The first few months of life were a struggle for Jeff and the runt of the litter Frank. The family didn’t have a lot of material possessions, but what they lacked was made up for in love and happiness at home.
Frank was the resourceful child; roaming the streets at 4.30am to beat the council cleaners to the bottles. Bottle collection would be put to good use at carnival time and cracker night by Frank.
He started his schooling at Allenstown in 1942 and later in 1946 was transferred to the Leichardt Ward school.
In 1951 when Frank turned 14, he decided to hang up his school hat and trade it in for a carpentry apprenticeship. As luck would have it, the nursing quarters at the Rockhampton Hospital were under construction by building firm Cousins and Co. Every week, young Frank would visit the building site to enquire about any available positions. After persisting for many weeks, the head builder eventually gave in and offered him a position starting on July 1.
Well, the plucky young Frank had to consider this for a moment as that was in fact a Sunday. He advised the builder of this, to which Doug replied, “then start on the bloody second”.
Upon completion of his carpentry apprenticeship in 1954 he was immediately called up for National Service. Frank embraced the army life; relishing the camaraderie, discipline and routine. He was then required to do two years in the army reserves which he thoroughly enjoyed and made many lifelong friends.
Frank’s love of rowing began in 1952 at the age of 17. He became an integral member of the Leichardt Rowing Club and was very passionate about the sport.
He particularly loved the mate ship, teamwork and the competitiveness that rowing offered. Not to mention the after training re-hydration.
The Criterion Hotel became the go to watering hole for post training analysis sessions and regatta celebrations; Frank and his fellow team members would often discuss tactics and technique over a few cold beers.
Frank had an extensive list of achievements throughout his rowing career, including three State 4’s Championships. In 1962, they won Champion 4’s of Queensland which then enabled them to represent their state at the Australian national titles. Whether it be rowing, coaching or spectating, Frank treasured it all. And this culminated in 2000 when he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contributions to rowing.
In the year 1960, along came Frank’s next true love, Jill. They met through the rowing club as Jill was a member of the ladies committee. A shared love of rowing and cinema drew the pair to one another. They would often attend many local dances together; romance was truly in the air. Three months in however, Frank became a little spooked at how quickly things were progressing and decided to have a cooling off period.
Jill however remained cool, calm and collected. Frank soon came to his senses after realising that Jill was the catch of a lifetime. From then on, the pair were inseparable.
In 1962, Frank proposed to Jill at Kemp Beach, and of course she said yes. They were married in the summer of 1963 on Saturday, February 23 at St Paul’s Cathedral. A dapper young Frank and his beautiful bride Jill were united in their love for one another.
On August 20 of the same year, the newly married couple welcomed their first-born son, Bruce Samuel in the early hours of the morning. Frank was a little cautious at first, but with Jill’s encouragement and support, he became a natural at parenting.
On November 19, 1964, a baby girl by the name of Catriona became the newest addition to the family. Frank was besotted by Catriona, the apple of his eye.
It wasn’t until October 1971, that Frank and Jill learnt they were expecting a third child. Much to Frank’s surprise, a baby girl was born on the morning of February 16, 1972. Jennifer Eileen was much loved by her older brother and sister.
Family time often entailed plenty of weekends and school holidays at Keppel Sands. Lots of great times were had with Uncle Ben and Aunty Beryl at their beach house. Frank enjoyed many fishing trips and ended up purchasing a boat from his brother in law, Ian. They both thought this was the sale of a lifetime, for different reasons of course. Unfortunately for Frank, this boat became known as a bit of lemon, it wouldn’t go and it scared fish!
On one occasion, the boat decided to pack it in out in open water. After a few panicky hours the coast guard thankfully arrived to tow a grateful Frank and relieved Jill to shore.
Frank’s luck continued when taking his father in law Walter (affectionately known as Fardie) out for a day on the water. On the way home they hit rough weather and the sea turned quite choppy. When they were finally within sight of shore, Fardie was tempted to disembark and jokingly said he could swim the remaining distance.
I think it was a deliberate play to curb both from going out in the boat ever again!
In 1964, Frank’s career path took a turn from carpentry to selling insurance with T&G. He did this for five years until 1969 when he turned his hand back to tools briefly, working for his Uncle, Ben Hick at the salt works in Bajool for about a year.
Shortly after finishing with Ben, he ran into his mate Gordon Baynton and discussed his need for work. Gordon put him in contact with Ian Randall at the CREB. Ian jumped to Frank’s request, highlighting that anyone who can sell insurance for five years could sell ice to eskimo’s and he sold electrical goods at the CREB until 1987, after which he became the pool man. Selling and installing pools in the hot Rockhampton climate became his thing, the family spent many a time cooling off in his two display pools on the shop premises.
In 2002, at the tender age of 65, Frank, aka Coot, decided it was time to enjoy the finer things in life and hung up his pool skimmer for good.
In 1970, the Fitzroy river barrage was completed and rowing in the city reach struggled with the tides and water level changes. Frank realised the survival of rowing in Rocky was only possible moving to the freshwater side.
His grand vision was the building of a boat shed with a licensed club to save the club from a life-time of chook raffles. It came to fruition with the grand opening in 1980. Membership numbers were flourishing, regatta attendance increased, and Leichardt Rowing club was getting back on the map.
One of Frank’s happiest and proudest moments was when Rienhold Batschi came to Rocky in 1978 and he went out in the coaching boat with him. The only problem was they couldn’t understand each other. Reihold’s English was terrible, limited to mostly four-letter words and Frank’s German was non-existent. Yet, despite this they have remained great mates ever since.
It was late 1970’s that he jumped into coaching Rockhampton Girls Grammar School as an interim when Mrs Neil finished at the school filling in until they could find a permanent replacement. He stayed in that position for 32 years.
Frank started coaching Bruce (who went on to become an Olympic and World medallist, Double Skulls), in the late 70’s until he packed up and moved to Canberra in 1985.
In 1986, his beloved Catriona married Lance. Frank and Jill had their first son in law and in the following year they welcomed their first grandchild, Chloe.
They welcomed a daughter in law, Kay in 1994 when Bruce was married off, and a second son in law in 1996 when Jennifer married Dutchy Michael.
Frank was ever the proud grandfather, aka Popsicle. They welcomed six grandchildren in total; Chloe, Kyra, Daniel, Sophie, ben and Andre. Pop always tried to get one of his grandchildren into a row boat but unfortunately none of them took the sport on, preferring soccer or cricket to oars and boats, much to pop’s dismay.
In retirement, he went back to the tools to reinvigorate his other passion, timber. He would spend countless hours making small furniture pieces, including jewellery boxes, napkin holders and blanket chests. All with hard wood and extremely heavy as Lance and Michael can attest to as they did the deliveries.
In recent years he became drawn to building legacy items, some already mentioned and what would become his final pieces, three lazy susans as Christmas gifts for his two daughters and daughter in law.
The craftmanship and detail he carved lovingly into each piece was testament to the enduring love he had for his family.
Frank will be remembered by all who knew him as a loyal passionate man who gave everything he did 100 per cent, he called a spade a spade, wouldn’t take backwards steps and even when things were a bit tough he always looked forward with great optimism.
He was very much loved by his family and friends and will be sadly missed.