Community minded and kind

January 13, 2018

Ron Morey will be remembered as a loving father and family man who contributed greatly to the local fruit industry and Philippine community.

He was community minded, carefree, positive, funny, kind and generous.

‘‘Relax, it will happen’’ and ‘‘Come on, come on, be nice, be nice’’ were reassuring phrases he would repeat to his family through his life.

Born on Boxing Day, 1926, in Mooroopna, Ronald James Morey passed away peacefully at Frankston hospital on January 3, aged 91.

He was a dearly loved husband of Cecilia and Else, brother to Geoff, Marj and Lin, and father to Rhonda, Phillip, Barry, Mark, Cathryn and David.

In his memoirs, Ron Morey: This is your life, Ron described himself as having been ‘‘a bouncing baby, well fed’’.

He grew up in Orrvale, before leaving school at 15 to work on the family orchard. It would mark the beginnings of a prosperous career in the fruit industry.

Not long later, a passion for cars developed that would follow for many years, importing and converting vehicles.

His family described him as someone who would rather fix something that was broken than throw it away.

‘‘This is when he fell in love with two important mending ingredients: wire and duct tape. Anything, Dad said, could be held together with wire and tape,’’ son Phillip wrote in his father’s eulogy.

After the war, Ron and his siblings expanded into fruit orchards in different parts of the Goulburn Valley.

In 1950 the family purchased a 25ha Grahamvale orchard where a successful career in the fruit industry was forged.

They were busy years, picking, grading and carting fruit to market in Melbourne, with the size of the orchard almost tripling during the next few decades and new technologies introduced.

By the mid 1980s, JD Morey & Sons had become among the largest Goulburn Valley fruit exporters to Scandinavia, United Kingdom and Asia.

Ron soon became interested in politics. He was among the youngest fruit growers appointed to the Shepparton Fruitgrowers Association before going on to hold a number of other positions at a national level.

He was also elected to Shire Council, serving as president.

‘‘Dad saw this as his duty living in a rural community — helping others,’’ son Phillip wrote.

‘‘We also noticed our roads in front of the property were always well maintained since Dad was on the Council. He must have been doing a good job.’’

Ron met first wife Else at a social evening, before getting married at St Brendan’s Church and honeymooning in Tasmania.

The couple settled in a house in Shepparton where Sunday roasts and card nights were regular.

After Else died, Ron’s son said his father united the family, and particularly took to cooking with open arms, leading to interesting results at times.

The purchase of a large caravan also saw annual summer family holidays begin at Rye on the Mornington Peninsula.

Ron eventually settled into a property on Quinan Parade overlooking Princess Park, set to become his home with the three younger children.

He began to wind down his industry involvement to take on more of a family role, save for lawn bowls twice a week.

Ron met second wife Cecilia on one of his regular overseas trips.

‘‘Dad now had a new purpose in his life,’’ Phillip wrote of his involvement with the Philippine Community in Shepparton, assisting with the development of Philippine House, and serving as president.

In recent years, Ron had lived at Harmony Village, regularly venturing out on his scooter to his favourite watering hole.

He spent his final few months surrounded by family.

This included a memorable two weeks at Rye to celebrate his 91st birthday, ‘‘on the beach side always smiling’’.

In Ron’s memoir he expressed happiness at being able to help many less fortunate than himself.

‘‘I am a proud father of six and trust that you will always continue to support each other as you have done so far,’’ Ron wrote.

‘‘My next edition will be published in 20 years time, maybe by satellite.’’

Just days before he passed, Ron described the fruit business as having been ‘‘good for us and our family’’.

‘‘Dad always had a smile on his face. He loved life and lived a full life caring for and loving the people that were such a part of his 91 years,’’ Phillip wrote.

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