HARRY Buikstra was remembered as a man of integrity, honesty, boundless enthusiasm and a wicked sense of humour during a moving funeral service on Monday.
Hundreds of people who attended the service in the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre were confronted by a stage adorned with the casket and Mr Buikstra’s two favourite motorcycles.
As his granddaughter Leah explained, “He wanted to go out in a big way, and set a benchmark for all his mates.
“And I know he’s sitting back, looking at us now, saying, ‘How good is this’,” she said through tears.
The phrase, “How good is this”, was a favourite of Mr Buikstra’s, and was often accompanied by a fist pumping into the air as he set off riding motorbikes with mates around Australia or even along the famous Route 66 in the United States.
Three of those mates took to the stage to recall the essence of
Mr Buikstra, who made his mark
on Nowra as the owner of Glendon Motors and another car yard that became the Country Motor Company.
As they did, the words integrity, honesty, generosity and humour were repeated over and over again.
Brad Garnham said he and Mr Buikstra were “mates at first sight”.
While many men had one best mate, Mr Buikstra was “the best mate of a great number of people”, he said.
“He was uniformly referred to as a great guy, a top bloke, a good mate,” Mr Garnham said.
Tom Veljanov recalled their times riding motorbikes together, and said his Harley-Davidson was stolen just before the first big ride in which he took part.
Mr Buikstra offered the use of a Harley that had just been traded in, but Mr Veljanov arrived to find it was missing a battery, was in desperate need of a service, and also needed roadworthy tyres – all of which he provided.
“I still can’t figure out whether Harry really wanted me on the ride or if he just wanted the repairs carried out for free,” Mr Veljanov said.
Another of his riding mates, Graham Hoare, said Mr Buikstra had a passion for anything with an engine and wheels.
He explained the significance of the two bikes on the stage – a BMW 1600GT that Mr Buikstra rode on his final big ride with the group a year earlier along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road heading to Adelaide, and a Harley-Davidson Mr Buikstra insisted on getting when others in the riding group decided to get Harleys, and Mr Buikstra did not want to be left out, even if he had the chance to only ride it twice.
In the rides there was plenty of laughter, with Mr Buikstra always at the centre of any jokes before frequently replying, “You know what I like about you? Nothing!” Mr Hoare recalled.
There were contributions from others, with John Macey saying, “He will always be remembered for just being Harry, a king and generous, beaut bloke.”
Celebrant Steve Parsons told the gathering, “I remember Harry as being one of nature’s nice guys.”
But perhaps the most poignant words were delivered by Mr Buikstra’s grandson Joel, who said the dedicated family man he knew simply as Grumps “was a role model who influenced my upbringing and shaped the man I am today”.