Man who could befriend anyone farewelled
THE life of Pieter Jacobus Groen-In'T-Woud was celebrated on Monday at the Boyne Tannum Memorial Parklands Crematorium Chapel.
His death has left wife Barbara, and children Saskia, Marya and Anthony, with fond memories of his varied life.
"When I'd ask Dad 'how you doin' he'd always respond with, 'never less than fantastic, like a fat green frog floating along on the lily pad of life'," said Anthony Groen-In'T-Woud.
"It was his favourite expression and describes his life to a tee."
The Groen-In'T-Woud family is most known for its family company sponsorship of the Gladstone Rugby Union Club and Pieter's ability to befriend anyone.
In Pieter's life he travelled around the world and touched many people's lives.
He grew up as a toddler in Holland during the early post-war years and made life-long friends, but none more than the friendship with wife Barbara, a life-long relationship that began as teenagers.
"Barbara was the love of his life and best friend," Anthony said.
Pieter was always curious about the world around him and would arrive home with people from around the world in tow; complete strangers he'd met who he wanted to share his home and region with.
The Gladstone resident of 35 years used to take his kids along with him when he drove for the Mission to Seafarers' bus, "with us acting as tour guides to buses full of Koreans all keen to spot Olivia Newton-John's house... in Gladstone," he said.
The well-travelled, well-loved man lived his last days in the Philippines surrounded with love, and died on November 20.
"Those of us who knew him well also new he was never on time, for dinner, for surprise parties, breakfast or anything.
"We actually had bets together he wouldn't be on time today either.
"But today he is, and as heartbreaking as it is for all of us, his lilypad has other rivers to float on now."