Clarence Valley's last POW farewelled
THROUGHOUT his lifetime Clifford Lowien was many things: a surf life saver, soldier, prisoner of war, farmer, local councillor, husband and father.
Yesterday, as people from across the Clarence Valley gathered at Yamba's All Saints Anglican Church to celebrate his life and mourn his loss, these were facets of his life that shone most brightly.
In his eulogy, which he kept to a minimum due to his dad's "pet hate" of long speeches, son Rick Lowien spoke of a larrikin who could talk to anyone and made friends easily.
His cheerful demeanour was evidently a quality that endeared him to all, from Yamba's Surf Life Saving Club members to his mates on the Thai/Burma Railway, where as a young man he worked under horrific conditions as a prisoner of war.
"Cliff saw and experienced a lot during his lifetime, from an almost itinerant life as a child, to a world war, and many changes and challenges as a farmer after the war," he said.
Rick also spoke of his father's 'inexplicable' love of American country music, and his penchants for gardening, Yamba's beaches and and red wine.
"I'm sure Geoff and Wendy remember as well as I do the nights he would play music late into the night," he said.
"It's difficult to imagine him not being around anymore, not there to chat about football and horses when we caught up.
"As sad as today is, I'm sure he would want this day to commemorate his life to be a happy one, one where his friends and family gather together and tell a story or two, and share a beer together."
Mr Lowien's daughter Wendy also shared fond memories of her father, with whom she ran a horse stud for a number of years.
"He loved going to yearling sales, talking business, and mixing with people," she said.
"During breeding season dad was always on the phone at night, so mum would put his dinner in the oven, something she would continue to do when they retired to Yamba.
"Dad would have a few beers at the golf club with his mates, walk home, hit the microwave button, eat his dinner and finish with a red wine."
Wendy, and others from the local RSL clubs, lalso spoke of his journey each year to Sydney for ANZAC Day, where he would meet up with friends and comrades from World War 11.
As Mr Lowien was walked out of the church for the final time, a guard of honour was formed by both the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club, and the local servicemen he called mates.
Outside, an Australian flag flew at half-mast as Hank William's Jambalaya played through the speakers.