John Macnamara’s paddle out. Pic: Supplied.
John Macnamara’s paddle out. Pic: Supplied.

How beloved firefighter was remembered

JOHN Macnamara has been remembered as a beautiful person who commanded respect and loved to shock people with a joke.

So it was only fitting a handful of surfers were shocked by bluebottles yesterday as hundreds of mourners paddled out to scatter his ashes off Greenmount yesterday.

The 70-year-old died at the beloved surf spot last month where it is believed he had a heart attack in the water, and hit his head on his paddle board, or a submerged rock, just before 5am.

John Macnamara, 70, paddle boarding in the surf. Photo: Trevor Elms
John Macnamara, 70, paddle boarding in the surf. Photo: Trevor Elms


The veteran Bilinga-Coolangatta firefighter was farewelled at a funeral service on Friday. Yesterday appeared to be a celebration of Macnamara's life.

Remembering John Macnamara. Pic: Supplied.
Remembering John Macnamara. Pic: Supplied.

There were a few tears and plenty of cheers as surfers splashed water into the air while an amphibious plane piloted by a friend of Mr Macnamara flew laps around the congregation.

"He was such a beautiful person, for 40 years I was his mate and I never saw him angry once," said close friend Peter Otto, who remembered Mr Macnamara's laughter each morning he arrived at Rainbow Bay for a surf.

 

"You'd come down here and you'd hear his laughter, you couldn't have asked for a better boss."

Mr Otto said Macnamara was a charismatic natural leader with a tendency for larrikin antics.

"Any of those fireys would have followed him everywhere," he said.

John Macnamara. Pic: Supplied.
John Macnamara. Pic: Supplied.

"He had that way with people, he never got flustered, never got upset. You'd be in a stressful situation somewhere and he just knew how to snap everyone out of it."

While he didn't think it was appropriate to go into his Queensland exploits, Mr Otto remembered a prank from Macnamara's days as a bus driver in Sydney.

"One day he just decided to put on a gorilla suit drive the bus around all day, he loved to shock," Mr Otto said.

"He commanded respect, was level-headed and loved the shocked factor.

"He'd stand back and laugh and laugh and he'd get away with it because he just loved life."

Following Mr Macnamara's death, Queensland's Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford offered his condolences to family and friends.



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