Eulogy – Maxwell Austen Brown
Austen was born in Bendigo to parents Maxwell & Jean and had one sister Judith who is here with us today.
Austen’s father was in partnership with his 3 brothers in the running of S. Brown motors and when he was old enough, Austen entered the family business in the spare parts section. When his father died the business was wound up and Austen moved onto Lapco, again as spare parts manager.
Austen always loved children and young people and because of this he was very involved with the YMCA boys club for many years. It was something he really loved and something he often reminisced about. He went to the Lord Mayors Camp in Portsea as a leader 3 times with different groups and was also a Sunday School teacher at his church – St Andrews in Bendigo.
He was a member of the Y’s mens club which was the charity arm of the YMCA and was at one stage the bulletin editor. He was always happy to help out with anything and was a valued and loyal member.
In 1974 he knocked on a door in St Aidens Road in Bendigo and asked a widow with two children, aged 12 & 10 if she would like to accompany him to the Lapco Christmas dinner. Luckily for him, she said yes, and in Pam he found the love of his life.
There were married on the 17th of September 1975 at St Andrews Church Bendigo and spent 37 wonderful years together. He didn’t just gain a wife, he also gained two daughters – myself and my sister Cheryl and in the future years, grandchildren – Aimee, Sarah, Megan, Tess and Adam and great grandchildren Mia and Maddison. He loved us all equally and was always so proud of all we did.
In 1978 our family moved to Kerang for Austen to take up employment with Findlay’s motors as once again, Spare Parts Manager. He always liked Chrysler vehicles and was proud to own a number of Valiants. He always said they were the best and most reliable cars on the road.
He became involved in the church here as not just a member, but Sunday School teacher, elder, lay preacher and many other duties. He loved being on the roster and praying vestry prayers.
During their marriage Austen and Mum went to lots of live theatre and he was involved in local productions of hms pinafore, oklahoma and guys and dolls. For such a quiet person he loved being on the stage. He enjoyed military band music and also marching music.
We went on many holidays together particularly to the beach, Point Lonsdale, Adelaide and Tasmania, either as a family or just Mum and Austen. When on holidays he liked to arrive at his destination, park the car and walk everywhere if possible, only getting back in the car when necessary or to drive home. However, before they left everything had to be checked at home that it was either locked or turned off. I clearly remember heading off on one family holiday and we had been driving for half an hour. Austen asked Mum if she had turned off the iron and Mum wasn’t sure so we had to turn around and head back and check it – and of course it was turned off and we had an extra hour added to our trip!
He was always happy to buy us Freddo frogs – we would get strawberry ones and he would have peppermint.
He had a go at many things – woodturning, leadlighting and restoring furniture to name a few and often thought he could “start a business” selling these things. He often encouraged Cheryl and I to do the same with things we made. Of course we never did.
He loved walking and when he was diagnosed with diabetes, would walk twice a day, no matter what the weather or temperature around the back swamp and levee bank. He was happy for any of us to join him on his special trail that none of us could quite work out the correct way but he always seemed to know.
In recent time, due to illness he could be difficult sometimes but was mostly happy. He didn’t want to be away from Mum or his home for very long and was always asking “when are we going home?” when he was out somewhere.
In summary, Austen was a quiet and gentle man. He loved his wife, home, children and cat.
He loved going to church and the lovely members of this congregation would pick him up and drop him home each week when he was no longer able to drive. It was always his church and loved Sundays and his time spent here in this church.
He loved Kerang and never wanted to leave and no matter how he was feeling he always answered with “I’m fit”.
While going through some paperwork I found this prayer that he wrote in 2006 –
“Dear Lord, as we prepare for our worship this day we pray for our minister as he brings your words as an example to us. Be near us Lord, when we are in despair, wrong and circumstances. We know that you are the only way out. We know Lord that you love us constantly, that as we trust in you, you are willing to save us from our sins. Be near us Lord as we bring this prayer. Amen