More than 350 people attended the service of thanksgiving for former Shoalhaven Shire President and legendary local cattleman Bruce McIntosh on Monday, September 24.
St Luke’s Anglican Church, Berry, the adjacent hall and a marque erected at the site were full.
Mr McIntosh, who died at his Woodside Park home at Berry on Saturday, September 1, aged 90, was highly respected throughout the area and apart from his significant contribution to the dairy industry, played a role in a number of community organisations.
To strains of Amazing Grace by a lone bagpiper, his son Rob welcomed everyone to the service and oversaw proceedings which included readings by Reverend Niel Percival and Father Pat Faherty, two men Mr McIntosh had long associations with.
Granddaughter Jane McIntosh and close family friend Brie Gordon performed a beautiful rendition of Pie Jesu.
Bruce Frederick McIntosh was born on June 8, 1928 in Camden to Fred and Jean McIntosh.
He was their only son and child. At the age of eight the family moved to Berry, settling on the family’s Woodside Park, which it still farms today.
In delivering a superb eulogy, Rob McIntosh said his father was a man “who liked to make things happen”.
He loved to make things happen.Rob McIntosh
“As an only child dad was known to be impatient - he saw things very clearly - black and white, he had a very creative mind,” he said.
“When it came to risk management it was never part of his thoughts. He would play as it is and play it very correct - the sequence of events was often - idea, conviction, planning (was optional) and do it.
“And that’s the way he seemed to operate.
“A good friend recently suggested dad loved to make things happen and that was quite true.
“First to family and then service of Berry and the local community he had grown to love.”
And that family started with his wife Nora, nee Campbell, who married in 1950. They had six children - “Dad referred to family as his greatest asset and certainly his greatest achievement,” Rob said.
Risk management was never part of his thoughts - the sequence of events was often - idea, conviction, planning (was optional) and do it.Rob McIntosh
“Ironically dad passed away on the first day of spring. A time for change, a time of renewal, a new season.”
He was a keen sportsman - rugby league, tennis and golf were all prominent, although he was also a keen fisherman, where “extra lead shot was sometimes used and later nuclear fishing.”
He was a keen member of junior farmers and in 1958 was founding member and inaugural president of the Berry Apex Club - a club for young men which oversaw the establishment of Apex Park just east of the township, various plantings of avenues of tree around the streets of Berry, including the Popular Way heading to the Berry Hospital, and the establishment of the swimming pool at Berry Showground.
In later years the Berry Shoalhaven Heads SHACK, catering for sick children battling cancer and their families was a proud result of the work of Apex in the local community.
Mr McIntosh vividly remembered and spoke often of fighting the bushfires of 1968 that raged across Cambewarra Mountain to Berry Mountain, putting the area on “high alert”.
An outstanding dairyman and cattle breeder, he played a major role in the local dairy industry, Holstein association and the local agriculture scene in general.
He was heavily involved in the Berry Show Society for most of his life, and the Royal Agricultural Society Sydney Royal Easter Show, where he was part of four generations of McIntosh exhibitors, with his father and by himself, supported his son Rob and later grandsons Doug and Hamish.
For a number of years he was chief cattle steward and the family’s association has been recognised with one of the cattle judging pavilions named in their honour, the McIntosh Pavilion.
Dad referred to family as his greatest asset and certainly his greatest achievement.Rob McIntosh
He oversaw the family’s move from champion Ayrshire cattle to Holsteins, much to his father Fred’s displeasure.
It started with the removal of the large horns on the Ayrshires for ease and safety in the herd, while Fred was overseas on a trip.
But he soon won him over and the family has gone on to be one of the most prominent “black and white” breeders in the country.
“Dad was progressive and always considered change,” he said.
“Dad loved to look for good breeding stock and with Fred, eventually on board, travelled the length of Australia chasing genetics.”
The family has again won champion cows at Sydney with Holstein and five All Australia awards.
His many, at times funny, adventures with machinery were also recounted.
Bruce McIntosh had an 18-year career in local government, where he was a councillor from 1959-1977 and Shire President for six years (1962-1968). At the time the youngest ever to hold the president's post.
Mr McIntosh was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day honours in 1980 for among other things his services to local government.
“We are very grateful to have had a father and grandfather to our children like Bruce - he was a man who like to make things happen,” Rob said.
He also paid credit to his five sisters and his mother Nora who looked after their father and husband in the later stages of his life, giving him the chance to pass away at his beloved Woodside Park property.
He also thanked all the various organisations and services who had assisted the family during this difficult time.
Mr McIntosh is survived by his wife Nora, their children Jan, Lindy, Rob, Sally, Kathy and Susie, sons and daughters-in-laws Phil, Bruce, Susie, Rob, Peter and Roy as well as his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.