News

Beloved Shepparton man Peter McPhee farewelled

By James Bennett

Peter McPhee would fill his days with the people he loved — and there were a lot of them.

If you needed help, Peter was there.

The devoted Shepparton community man died on Tuesday, November 26, aged 84.

His widow, Judy, described the great-grandfather as a "wonderful man".

“He was involved with so many people, and he was a great father and grandfather,” she said.

“Peter was a hands-on helper. He was just unbelievable how he put in so much time for the whole day.

“He'd come home, have dinner, and he was out again; he had no off button — he was switched on all the time.

“It came because he was one of six children and the sisters all looked after him. The family always did things together and that's where his loving nature comes from.”

Peter McPhee plays the bass drum for the Shepparton Brass Band during a parade.

Mr McPhee was born at the Mooroopna Base Hospital on July 3, 1935. He attended Sacred Heart College (now Notre Dame) and went on to Assumption College in Kilmore.

In 1955 he started a six-year stint with the 59th Battalion after being called for national service and training at Puckapunyal.

Despite never retiring, Mr McPhee was best known for his career as a road safety officer at VicRoads.

He held life memberships with Lemnos/Shepparton Football Club, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce, Shepparton Agricultural Society and Shepparton RSL sub-branch.

He volunteered for two Olympic Games, in Melbourne and Sydney, played drums in local bands and was a member of the Lions Club.

Peter McPhee received his OAM from John Landy in 2003.

His endless commitment to the Shepparton community was recognised in 2003 when he was presented with an Order of Australia Medal by John Landy.

“I'm very proud, but there are a lot of people doing a hell of a lot of good work in the community who aren't always recognised for it,” he told The News at the time.

“But this — well, what an honour.

“None of what I have done could have been done on my own.

“I've been fortunate to have people all around me taking on tasks and easing the burden.”

Mr McPhee met Judy at a dance when she was 16; they married in 1961.

Peter was part of a road safety campaign to encourage drivers to switch on the headlights during the day in 2002 with police officer Des Wright.

The couple had three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

If there was a Anzac Day or Remembrance Day service, Mr McPhee was leading the way.

He was made a life member of the Shepparton RSL sub-branch in 2011 and was inducted into the RSL Victoria Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Peter was loved by all RSL members far and wide, together with the staff at our sub-branch,” friend and RSL president Bob Wilkie said.

“His friendly smiling face and words of encouragement will be missed by all.

“The best way to describe him is as a gentleman who was admired by all.”

Peter McPhee was farewelled by family and friends on Monday.