AN era has come to an end at the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club with the passing of stalwart John ‘Jay Bee’ Braiden.
Mr Braiden filled a number of positions in the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club over the years, including as a director involved in the move of the bowling activities from Junction Street to Worrigee.
He was a past president of the men’s bowling club and a life member of both Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club Limited and the men’s club.
He was a keen member of the Sports and Social Committee and editor of the monthly magazine that reported all the social activities and sporting groups for 25 years.
In my 30 years in newspapers, at both the Shoalhaven and Nowra News and the South Coast Register, I had never known life without one of Jay Bee’s columns.
Each week he was regular as clockwork – at first his handwritten notes would be under the front door of the office first thing Monday morning for Wednesday’s edition.
Then he mastered computers and his contributions, often with photographs, would arrive via email.
If he wasn’t acting as publicity officer for the men’s bowling club, he was producing write-ups and information for the fishing club members or other news.
Universally known as Jay Bee, his sign-off to each column, he passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, August 4, aged 83.
He was the devoted husband of Joan and father and father-in-law of Anita and Colin, Kim (deceased), Tracey and Michael, Donna and Martyn, Scott and Nicole and grandfather and great grandfather to their children.
John’s funeral will be held at The Salvation Army Citadel, Salisbury Drive Nowra today, August 12, from 11am.
Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club president and life member and long-time friend Kevin Duffey said Jay Bee would be sorely missed.
“John was a great man who did an enormous amount of work for the club, an extremely busy chap, who always did a wonderful job,” he said.
“He was devoted to the club and its continued success.”
And as well as being a dual life member, just two weeks ago he was honoured when the number one green at the Worrigee Club was named after him.
“It was a total shock to him but something he was very proud of,” Mr Duffey said.
“It certainly took a lot of stealth work behind the scenes to ensure it was all done without him finding out about it.
“He was really caught unawares and was very chuffed by the honour.
“John’s wife Joan has been in Chesalon and he has been devoted to her, going up every day, and he commented that she would have also been so proud of the honour.”
Mr Duffey said members of the club formed a guard of honour and clapped as Mr Braiden entered the club.
In typical Jay Bee fashion, he looked at everyone and said, “I don’t know what you bastards have been up to but it can’t be good.”
“It was great he got to see the green named after him – he thoroughly deserved it,” Mr Duffey said.
Mr Duffey said it was appropriate that today, the final of the district mixed pennants competition of which Mr Braiden was such a strong supporter, will be played at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club on the John Braiden Green for the John Braiden Trophy.