The Gladstone marine and wider community is mourning the loss of Bill Ives, who is pictured here receiving a National Service Medal from Ken O'Dowd MP.
The Gladstone marine and wider community is mourning the loss of Bill Ives, who is pictured here receiving a National Service Medal from Ken O'Dowd MP.

Vale, Bill Ives: Gladstone marine rescue icon remembered

The Gladstone marine and wider community is mourning the loss of a larrikin who heavily influenced the town’s Volunteer Marine Rescue scene.

Bill Ives recently passed away following a tough battle with cancer at the age of 87.

Mr Ives’ granddaughter Crystal Hudson said that her pop was a remarkable man who lived most of his life on the water and fishing.

“He was hard working and would always make time to spend with friends and family, whilst always inspiring and motivating us to achieve great things,” Ms Hudson said.

“His true passion was at Volunteer Marine Rescue for the past 20 plus years, helping others in the Gladstone community and teaching mariners advanced skills including tying knots that will be passed on for many generations.”

Ms Hudson said her pop was presented with a National Medal by Ken O’Dowd MP on January 18 in recognition of his long and diligent service protecting the local community.

“He was a living library full of knowledge and wisdom always defining the right values in life and he will leave endless memories and a lasting legacy,” Ms Hudson said.

“I’ll certainly miss his detailed storytelling of past times while enjoying a Bundaberg Rum.”

President of the Volunteer Marine Rescue Jefrey Caldwell issued a statement to The Observer on Monday morning on his branch’s behalf.

“Bill’s area of expertise was always the ocean, he was an ocean person,” Mr Caldwell said.

“He devoted a lot of his life to driving pilot boats in the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, went to Port Alma then eventually retired in the Gladstone area and became a VMR member.”

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He serviced the Gladstone Volunteer Marine Rescue division for over 20 years and in that time it became apparent to Mr Caldwell that Mr Ives was a family man.

“He’s got daughters and grand-daughters who absolutely adore him,” Mr Caldwell said.

“He was a person who used to keep us on our guard, he would come down to the VMR headquarters every day and check everything including the boats and bays.
“If it wasn’t up to scratch you could count on him making us aware of it.”

Mr Caldwell said that in his later years, Mr Ives was the Gladstone VMR’s onsite expert when it came to ropes, lines and knots.

“He used to provide the training for our new members, but he was also experienced in underwater welding so he had a lot of experience on the handling of boats,” he said.

“His experience was invaluable when it came time to replace our old boats with new boats and the challenges which came with it.”

Mr Caldwell said Mr Ives’ passing would leave a hole in the VMR Gladstone branch.

“It will take a long time, if ever, to find someone like him to fill that position that he held,” he said.

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