VALE: Joe and Margaret Jackwitz spent a lifetime together.
VALE: Joe and Margaret Jackwitz spent a lifetime together.

Former councillor and community man dies aged 74

TREVOR John Jackwitz was a man who wore many hats - so many, since he was five, he was only known as Joe.

The decision was championed by the determined youngster, and with no one daring to undermine his passion, he was known as Joe from that day forward.

Changing his name was just the start of decades of decision-making fuelled by passion and determination for Joe.

There wouldn't be many adults who grew up Laidley that didn't know him - he was a councillor with the former Laidley Shire Council for 13 years and part of the Lions Club for more than 42 years.

His wife Margaret "Meg” Jackwitz said he was community man passionate about helping others.

"He would anonymously pay people's bills without asking for anything in return,” Mrs Jackwitz said

"He had a sense of humour, sense of duty and a sense of contribution to the community.”

Joe volunteered his time to the local boys' and girls' brigades, the Carinity Karinya Place nursing home, was a Deacon at the Laidley Baptist Church and a member of the show society.

His presence in the Laidley community is undeniable, the houses along Hayes Street and the surrounding residences were built on his old farming property.

The old farm house also sits within the Laidley showgrounds and will be a constant reminder of the old times for Mrs Jackwitz.

The red-roofed home was brought to Laidley from the family's Mulgowie farm, and was a place where the Jackwitz family shared many of their early memories.

VALE: Joe Jackwitz will live on in the memories of his family and friends.
VALE: Joe Jackwitz will live on in the memories of his family and friends.

But Mrs Jackwitz' memory stems back much further than the times they lived together - their relationship was literally life-long.

Born two weeks apart, their mothers crossed paths at the doors of the Laidley hospital and were also family friends.

Mrs Jackwitz said every Christmas holidays her family, the Mutzelburgs, would holiday with the Jackwitz' on the coast.

"We would go swimming, roller skating and spend time at the beach while our parents played bowls,” she said.

When they were six, Joe made another decision he would keep for the rest of his life - he told Mrs Jackwitz they would marry.

"I remember everyone always saying he wanted to buy me a ring,” Mrs Jackwitz said.

While the decision was made before they had even finished primary school, the youngsters didn't let their fate stand in the way of living life.

In his childhood and teenage years Joe was known for getting up to mischief.

Chickens running through his family's farm with burnt tail feathers and pinching nails from his dad's shed were just a couple occurrences Joe was known to be responsible for.

"He was a larger than life character,” Mrs Jackwitz said.

After seeing each other casually for years, the pair started dating seriously when they were 17 and by the time they were 20 they were married.

The pair were married for 53 years and had three daughters, four grandsons and one great granddaughter.

"He had a big heart,” Mrs Jackwitz said.

While his heart was filled with love and compassion, the vital organ also created many problems for Joe.

He was diagnosed with a heart condition and later melanoma.

Despite his poor health, every day was a blessing for Joe - he insisted he woke up on the green side of the grass each morning.

Joe had radiation to treat the cancer in early 2019, but Mrs Jackwitz said the disease returned with a vengeance.

Like she was his whole life, Mrs Jackwitz was beside Joe until the very end.

In his last moments he expressed how he dreaded their separation, which would put an end to a lifetime of partnership.

Mrs Jackwitz said he fought right to his final day on April 13 - he was 74.

His death has devastated Mrs Jackwitz, but she said she found peace in her belief of god's plan and promise.

"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”

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