Farewell to an Allora legend who gave greatly to his town
THE immense contribution Jim Deacon made to his community will be long remembered, as his legacy as Allora's longest-serving councillor, an army veteran, dedicated resident and loving family man is one to be admired.
Jim was born James William Deacon on June 18, 1923 at 1 South St, Allora - also known as Eldersfield - where he lived his entire life and passed away on Friday, June 14, just four days shy of his 96th birthday.
Jim was part of a long line of Deacons who gave greatly to Allora, which began when they arrived in the Best Little Town on the Downs in 1866.
William Deacon, Jim's grandfather, arrived in Allora in 1866 to take up the post of headmaster at the state school.
After arriving in Allora he soon found himself serving as mayor on the council as well as founding the School of Arts, establishing the show committee and reserve, and having Allora declared a municipality in 1909. It was on this Shire of Allora/Municipality of Allora that Jim became the longest-serving councillor during its 125 years of existence.
He was first elected on May 17, 1955, and served for more than 39 years, including 13 years as chairman, before the shire was abolished.
His family said Jim's biggest disappointment was not being able to stop the amalgamation of Allora Shire with Warwick.
His contribution was not limited to time as councillor. He also served as honorary secretary of the Allora Anzac Day Commemoration Committee for 39 years and was RSL secretary and president for more than three years.
A strong work ethic was instilled in Jim from a young age.
In his early years, Jim's father - also named William - was away a lot and would return home on Friday nights.
Jim would help his father on the farm at weekends and, with no cars, they would ride their horses 5km out of town to the farm and back.
Jim left school at 14 and went to an agricultural school but five years later, when Jim was 19, his father passed away.
After his father died, Jim enlisted in the army in February 1943 to help the war effort.
He was sworn in at Redbank and drafted to 179 Supply Platoon and sent to Moratai, Indonesia. From Moratai they went to Labuan, part of British North Borneo. His platoon was then to go with the 9th Division to invade Japan but fortunately the war ended.
After the war, his cousin Bob took over Deacon and Co and Jim worked for him part-time, helping out at pig, calf and cattle sales and helping on the farms that were share-farmed.
He would then take over full care of the farms himself.
Continuing the tradition he started with his dad, Jim would still ride his horse into town every day and collect the mail.
When he met Vivienne, who later became his wife, he then decided to learn to drive and enlisted his friend Keith Masters to teach him.
He met Vivienne in 1962 after his mother, Ada, bought a television, which was one of the first in town, and would invite her friends over to watch Pick a Box, which was a popular show at the time.
His family recalls that Mrs Moorehead, who ran a boarding house where Vivienne was staying, brought Vivienne with her one night to watch it.
Jim and Vivienne were engaged six months later and in the coming years welcomed three children - Janece, Craig and Jamie.
Jim's family will remember him as a loving father and grandfather to all his children and grandchildren.
He was a keen movie-goer in his younger days and would walk to the pictures with his mother most Saturday nights.
He also spent a lot of time at the School of Arts reading books. He would proudly show his children the first book he saved his pocket money to buy and he continued buying books throughout his life.
Jim's passion for Allora, love for his family and dedication to his community will never be forgotten.
All are invited to Jim's funeral on Wednesday from 1pm at Allora Uniting Church.