KURRLE – John Robert • 8/8/1932 – 18/2/2021 • Obituary
YOU know, we really should write down the memoirs of our parents and older family members.
Without the efforts of Phillip Sullivan of Alchera House in Korumburra, collecting conversations about residents there in recent times, the family of the late John Kurrle would not have had access to details about their father and grandfather’s life, told in his own words in an article prepared by Phillip “No Two Days Were The Same”, for John’s funeral service on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
Summing up John’s life of devotion to his family and his beloved community of Korumburra came from family members and friends, however, “John was Korumburra through and through” – and he was.
He loved the town, its people, its pace and its activities; not only for supporting the business he operated there for nigh on 40 years, the Kurrle Holden Dealership, and providing security for his family, but also for a lifetime of friendships and the sense of belonging it gave him.
But if ever there was a case of “you only get out what you put in”, that too was John Kurrle.
John was born in Korumburra on August 8, 1932, to parents Russell and Thelma, eldest of their five children; Barry (dec) and Pat, Gwen and Don Evison, Graham (dec) and Lois, Geoffrey (dec) and Heather, and Ruth (dec).
Educated locally, he lived all his life in Korumburra, most of that time in King Street before building a new home in Bridge Street where he lived with Lynette and family for about 45 years.
In his own words: “When I left school at 16, I worked for the State Savings Bank, Korumburra, as a teller for three and a half years. This is where I was trained in accounting and customer service.
More importantly, I learnt people skills and the importance of good personal presentation. Being well spoken, with good manners and being neatly dressed was imperative to the job. An ironed shirt with matching tie, and clean shoes showed the bank customers professionalism. All of this groomed me for later managing R Kurrle Pty Ltd Holden Dealership in Korumburra.”
As a young man, John enjoyed playing sport, the usual country suspects footy, cricket and badminton but his real passion throughout his life was collecting stuff in a serious way; coins, model aeroplanes, books, stamps; you name it.
John was extremely generous with the time he gave to community groups, and family members hardly remember a night he didn’t go out to a meeting or some community event.
He was a founding member of the Korumburra Apex Club, was on the Korumburra Water Board, served as Anglican Church treasurer for many years (with meticulous bookkeeping skills and beautiful handwriting), was the longest serving Korumburra Rotarian (a Paul Harris Fellow and Sapphire pin recipient), Rotary Art Show founder, Liberal Party member, Botanic Garden committee, heart support, historical society, Probus, car club and not forgetting, a member of the Richmond Football Club for over 70 years.
And his wife Lynette was right behind him all the way in this and everything he did.
For many years though, John was known as the proprietor of Kurrle’s Holden garage and he recalls in his memoirs a time when a car radio was an optional extra and competition in the town for car sales was fierce.
“You had to be good at it. Excellent service and reliable staff were the backbone of the firm. Keeping customers was easy,” John said. “But if you lost them, it was almost impossible to get them back.”
The firm employed 30 people at its height and John prided himself on “hitting the office floor at 8am” with the rest of the staff, remembering the talents of Reg Maskell in the workshop and service manager Vic Chaffey as being prominent in the success of the dealership.
As well as being an avid collector, John was an aeroplane enthusiast and had no problem with long-haul flights on a Qantas Boeing 747 on trips overseas with Lynette.
“Whilst in England, I visited the Tangmere Airfield in West Sussex, from where the Spitfires took off bound for missions over Germany in WWII, a very interesting experience.”
John and Lynette Kurrle (dec) had four children; Christine Brocklebank (and Andrew), Robyn Newman, Heather Brown (dec.) and Jocelyn Kurrle. He was grandfather to five and great grandfather to five.
He died at Alchera House on February 18, 2021. A graveside service was held at the Korumburra Cemetery on Tuesday, March 2.