Local Identities

John Rice (c1888 – 1949) – Obituary

Cookernup Farmer’s Death. The death occurred at the Harvey District Hospital on December 12, after an illness extending over a number of years, of Mr. John Rice, of Cookernup at the age of 61. The deceased had been in the Harvey district for about 30 years, most of which were spent in farming at Cookernup. Being a great worker, “Jack” (as he was popularly known) was very successful in this direction. He is survived by a wife and three sons, Messrs. Ernest, Harold and Arthur Rice, all of whom are following in his footsteps by engaging in farming pursuits.

He was fire control officer for the Cookernup area and a very vigorous one at that, and over a period of 10 years in this capacity he did invaluable work. During the heavy fires in the Yarloop-Cookernup district last year he spent many hours of the day and night within and without his own area and gave most valuable assistance and his experience gained over the years no doubt contributed to most of the fires being brought under control without serious damage. The deceased was a member of the Harvey Road Board from May, 1937, to May, 1940, when he did not seek re-election because he could not “get on” with a certain member of the board.

He was for many years a member of the Yarloop branch of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes and in his earlier days took a very active part in the Order. He was a very philanthropic man towards his Order. The funeral was held in the Church of England portion of the Cookernup cemetery on Tuesday at 1.30 p.m., when one of the largest and most representative crowds ever to gather turned up to pay their last respects. The Rev. Jenkins, of Bunbury, officiated at the graveside.

Members of the Harvey Road Board carried out the duties of pall-bearers. They were the chairman (Mr. T. W. D. Smith) and Messrs. R. L. Hester, J. Lowe, L. R. Grieves, C. A. Wickham and E. J. Manning, and the secretary (Mr. W. R. Eckersley). The four coffin-bearers were representatives of the Yarloop Buffalo Lodge, Messrs. P. L. Pollett, R. Greenough, C. A. Jenkinson and E. O’Callaghan.

At the completion of the ordinary burial service a very impressive service was conducted by the Buffalo Lodge. Members quietly assembled around the grave, where the Lodge chaplain, Mr. P. Davidson, read the burial service and the link was formed, leaving a gap of one absent brother. A Lodge prayer was then said and at the conclusion brothers who were wearing ivy leaves upside down removed them and allowed the leaves to descend into the grave, this being a symbol of fidelity of a brother who has passed beyond. All officers of the lodge were in full regalia.

(Harvey Murray Times, 16 December 1949.)