The graveside service of Frantiseck (Frank) Cervanek at Calliope lawn cemetery.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
The graveside service of Frantiseck (Frank) Cervanek at Calliope lawn cemetery.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA120916FRNK

WATCH: Family farewell 'the real Crocodile Hunter'

FROM surviving the Second World War and being held captive in German concentration camps, to becoming a crocodile hunter, Frantiseck (Frank) Cervenak lived a full life.

The 92-year-old Calliope man was farewelled at his funeral yesterday by family and friends, all of whom had a story to share.

With seven children, 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and an amazing four loving great-great-grandchildren, the Czechoslovakia-born Mr Cervenak has definitely left a legacy.

Coming from a wealthy family who lived in a castle, his grandmother, a Czechoslovakian baroness, often travelled in a horse-drawn carriage.

Mr Cervenak's granddaughter, Shanna Coomber, rode in a similar horse-drawn hearse yesterday, which carried her grandfather to his final resting place at the Calliope cemetery.

Mr Cervenak had lived in Calliope for 15 years before he died from illness on Father's Day.

"He was a very strong man, who had been through a lot," his granddaughter said.

"Despite him being quite strict, he was very funny and had a great sense of humour.

"He sounded just like Andre Bocelli when he used to sing to us, and he always used to cook amazing Czechoslovakian dishes.

"And he wasn't just your average man, he had a story to tell and some of it is horrible, the things he had to do to survive at some points.

"But it shaped him into the man we all grew up to love and admire so much; he was one of a kind and we will never forget him."

During the service, tears were shed and smiles were in evidence as family and friends reflected on the good times, the sad times and the funny times of this remarkable man.

The Observer will have a special feature on Mr Cervenak's story during his time in concentration camps and his career as a crocodile hunter on Saturday.



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