DAYLESFORD has lost one of its most loved and respected residents.
Jack Atkinson, 95, died peacefully on Wednesday evening, surrounded by loved ones.
Jack was born at Wombat Flat on Jubilee Lake Road, Daylesford, in 1924. He lived there with his parents and seven siblings.
In 1938, at age 14, Jack started his first job at his local paper, The Daylesford Advocate. The following year, 1939, World War II broke out and Jack travelled overseas with the army. Upon his return years later, Jack returned to his job at the paper.
When his boss, Jack Oglethorpe retired, Jack and his wife Elaine purchased the business. They were proprietors of the paper from 1973 until 1985, with Jack continuing to contribute to the paper for many years after that.
He had a love for collating the daily weather data and contributed his carefully collected findings to journalists at The Advocate for years of his life. He compiled the data with professional measuring equipment in his backyard, recording it at midnight every day.
Jack was also a passionate sportsman. He was a professional long-distance runner, winning a number of medals after travelling all over Australia to participate in competitions. He was also a fullback at Daylesford Football Club, before he went on to be an umpire and trainer, a position he held for 20 years, during which time he led the 1961 team to the club’s first premiership.
Jack also played cricket and later in life, enjoyed the course at Hepburn Springs Golf Club regularly. Jack was a long time member of Daylesford CFA, the Probus Club and was a Master at the Masonic Lodge. His family jokingly called him ‘the oracle’ because he had a fantastic memory and knew everything there was to know about everything, especially about the region.
His brother, Merv, remembered Jack as a knowledgeable and strong-willed man. His nephew, Neil, said his uncle had never had children but had adored his nieces and nephews and often took them away on day trips to places like Macedon and Torquay.
“They would pack the thermos and a cake and we would set off for the day,” he said. “He was a really social person, really friendly. He would make friends with anybody on the street or walking past his house. He was always very happy and would do anything for anyone.”
Jack and his wife Elaine were married for 60 years.
The family thanked Jack’s friend, Monica, whom Jack had shared a lovely friendship with in recent years.
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