FAREWELL: About 200 people said their last good-byes to local government icon Kev de Vere at a simple and moving funeral at St Patrick's church.
FAREWELL: About 200 people said their last good-byes to local government icon Kev de Vere at a simple and moving funeral at St Patrick's church. Arthur Gorrie

Kev de Vere 'folds up his tent' as community says farewell

THE man they called the architect of a region, Kev de Vere was delayed on his final journey by a about 200 people wanting to say good-bye.

St Patrick's priest Pat Cassidy said Mr de Vere was on his way to Heaven but there were many who wanted to pay their respects before they finally let him go.

"When the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us," he told yesterday's funeral service, quoting the Book of Corinthians.

At the request of his widow, Faith, Kev de Vere's son Chris read a poem, Funeral Blues, by WH Auden, summing up the grief of loved ones:

"He was my North, my South, my East and West,

"My working week and my Sunday rest,

"My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song:

"I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong."


Kev De Vere
Kev De Vere

And that was it. No speeches at a final ceremony where so many people had a recollection or a comment, too many probably.

"Everyone can have a talk to each other at our place later," Chris de Vere said as his father's coffin was placed in the hearse, prior to being taken for a strictly family-only burial, to be followed by the wake at Chris and Karyn de Vere's Rife Range Rd home.

Mourners included the late Mr de Vere's colleagues on the former Widgee Shire Council, ex-Gympie Mayor Mick Venardos and several councillors from Cooloola Shire, formed from the amalgamation of Widgee Shire and Gympie City councils.

That amalgamation was follwed by the merging of Cooloola Shire with Kilkivan and the southern part of Tiaro Shires, to form the current Gympie Regional Council.

Mr de Vere was a councillor and later chairman of Widgee Shire.

He pioneered what is now Southside, lobbied hard to achieve the Cooloola Coast road to Maryborough and the road to Rainbow Beach, as well as building much of the kerb and channel at Tin Can Bay, financing much of it with compensation money from the federal government's Cooloola and Fraser Island sand mining ban.

He maintained close contacts at the highest levels of Queensland politics and bureaucracy and became noted as a person who got things done.

He did not always win.

As he told it, his plan to have a major central works depot at the Showgrounds did not get through and nor did his idea of having an underpass for Monkland St at its intersection with what was then the newly re-routed Bruce Hwy.

He said the people running Gympie City in that long ago era did not want it to be too easy for people (and business and investment) to get over the river to Southside.

At that time, the highway we now know as a congested through-town traffic route, was the new by-pass carrying vehicles which had previously been forced to travel up Mary St to go north.