A REMARKABLE man, who lived a remarkable life.

This is how people will remember World War II veteran, grazier, father, freemason and friend Athol Christopher Greaves, who made sure to embrace every moment of his incredible 104 years of life.

The Chinchilla community gathered to say its last farewells to Athol on Monday at the St Cecelia's Anglican Church.

Athol was born to John and Nellie Greaves in Mt Perry on September 7, 1915, before his family moved to Old Cannindah near Monto.

Athol's daughter and only child Ann Greaves shared her favourite memories of her father and mother and their lives lived to the fullest on their Bingleburra property.

Athol Greaves with daughter Ann and wife Myrtle.
Athol Greaves with daughter Ann and wife Myrtle. Contributed

"Although we lived on a fairly remote property - we were always going to some event or function on weekends … Mum and Dad were quite social - late nights did not matter; often they were the last to leave a function at night."

Although schooled by his mother, as a highly competent horseman Athol could more easily be found on horseback, helping with mustering and stock work.

At the age of 19 Athol left the family property to enlist in the Light Horse Brigade in Mundubbera in 1934.

At 104 years of age Athol Greaves was the last living WWII veteran in the Chinchilla area and the last living member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment – of which he was a founding member.
At 104 years of age Athol Greaves was the last living WWII veteran in the Chinchilla area and the last living member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment – of which he was a founding member. Contributed

In August 1943, Athol was drafted to the 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion's 18th Brigade, 7th Division and deployed to New Guinea's Shaggy Ridge in the Finisterre Mountain Ranges where he fought the Japanese troops before being sent home with malaria after nine months of service.

Athol was tasked with escorting the native bearers on a seven-hour journey up the ridge with vital supplies for the Australian Army.

After the war, Athol returned to Australia and was sent to Canungra Training Centre where he passed on knowledge gained from New Guinea partaking in the art of jungle warfare before making his way back to country life.

"Dad seldom talked about the war years when I was growing up," Ann said.

"He would, however, always acknowledge Remembrance Day and marched on Anzac Day.

"The Light Horse movement was close to Dad's heart and he had the honour of becoming the patron of the Jandowae Light Horse Regiment in 2016."

Athol met and married the love of his life, Myrtle, the sister of his Light Horse comrade, Robbin Howarth, later in life on September 5, 1959, with the pair celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year.

Myrtle and Athol Greaves.
Myrtle and Athol Greaves. Hayden Smith

A member of several community organisations including the Order of the Eastern Star and the Masonic Lodge, Field Naturalist's Club, United Graziers Association, Landcare, the Rural Fire Brigade Service, RSPCA, ICPA, the RSL, Legacy, the Isolated Children and Parrents Association, Army Cadets and TAFE Athol will be remembered for his love of reading and learning.

Ann said Athol loved the mornings right up until his last days and always greeted the chooks, horses, the cat, the dog, the Blue Care nurses and his family with warm, welcoming hello from the veranda.

A picture of health even well into his 90s, Athol was still hand-watering trees in the paddock and was still chopping wood for the stove in winter at age 98.

Phil and Marie Worthing said Athol and Marie had been the dream neighbours to them for 14 years.

"I can still remember him coming around at 90 years old to offer to help us unload the removal truck when we first arrived," Mr Worthing said.

"Myrtle and Athol didn't let their age slow them down, they were as social as people in their 20s, we had plenty of ginger beer shandies with Athol over the years.

"Even well into his 90s he used to refuse to ride in the Jeep on Anzac Day, telling us the sergeant said it was only to be used for the infirmed, which always made me smile.

"The first 50 years of our life is one of learning and experience. The next 50 is one of reward and enjoyment." A letter Athol wrote for his daughter Ann on her 50th birthday. Contributed

"He was a beautiful neighbour and a true gentleman, and we are going to miss having him around greatly."

In honour of Athol's service, the 11th Light Horse troop from Toowoomba led the funeral cortege from the church to the highway where two members of the Jandowae Light Horse Regiment led Athol to his final resting place at the Chinchilla Monumental Cemetery.

 

The 11th Light Horse troop from Toowoomba at Athol Greaves funeral.
The 11th Light Horse troop from Toowoomba at Athol Greaves funeral. Kate McCormack

In honour of Athol's service, the 11th Light Horse troop from Toowoomba led the funeral cortege from the church to the highway where two members of the Jandowae Light Horse Regiment led Athol to his final resting place at the Chinchilla Monumental Cemetery.

At 104 years of age Athol Greaves was the last living WWII veteran in the Chinchilla area and the last living member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment - of which he was a founding member.

At 104-years-of age, Athol Greaves was the last living WWII veteran in the Chinchilla area and the last living member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment - of which he was a founding member.
At 104-years-of age, Athol Greaves was the last living WWII veteran in the Chinchilla area and the last living member of the 5th Light Horse Regiment - of which he was a founding member. Kate McCormack

His passing marks the loss of one of the region's great icons, but his legacy and love for life will live on for many decades to come.



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