Gleeson couple remembered

SPORTING clubs throughout regional Victoria donned black armbands after a fatal crash north of Deniliquin took two much-loved members from their midst. 

Linton and Lyn Gleeson had been heading up to Hay to play bowls when their Mitsubishi Triton and a B-double collided on the Cobb Highway on June 8. 

A caravan, attached to the back of their vehicle, was indicative of holiday plans following the match. 

He would have been the best coach I’ve had, without a doubt.

Ron Trimble, Newbridge Football Netball Club

It had been about five years since the Gleesons had endured a Victorian winter.

From the Queen’s Birthday weekend until mid-September they’d be on the road, with their caravan in tow, exploring warmer pastures. 

This year, they had intended to head to the Northern Territory to revisit the remote fishing community of King Ash Bay.

News of the couple’s death rippled from Broadford, where they lived, throughout central Victoria.

Both Mr and Mrs Gleeson were born in Rushworth Hospital, in 1950 and 1951 respectively.

Mr Gleeson, or ‘Bushy’, was one of seven children, and was raised in Rushworth.

Mrs Gleeson – nee Wastell –  and her five brothers were raised on the outskirts of Stanhope.

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The couple is thought to have met at high school, in Rushworth, and wed on November 11, 1972. 

More than 100 letters, each beginning with “my darling Lynette”, detail the early years of their relationship.

Mr Gleeson wrote of life in the Army, during two-years of national service, and of the loved ones he yearned for back home. 

The future Mrs Gleeson cherished every one of her beau’s missives. 

Their marriage lasted almost 45 years.

The Gleesons were parents to three children - Luke, Marcus and Tamara – and parents-in-law to Paul and Jodie.

The couple’s four grandchildren – Campbell, Alice, Chloe and Heidi – were among their proudest achievements.

In addition to their family legacy, the Gleesons will be remembered for their sporting successes.

Mrs Gleeson was a respected member of the tennis and netball communities; Mr Gleeson was an accomplished footballer and cricketer.

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Mr Gleeson helped secure the Rushworth seniors a premiership in 1969 and was the club’s best and fairest player in 1973.

He coached and captained Newbridge to a dual premiership in 1978, a contribution club stalwart Ron Trimble said made a lasting impact, particularly on the playing group.

“He was an inspirational person,” Mr Trimble said. 

“He led by example. We were a young side then and I suppose he mentored us, taught us a lot about the game of football and, through his leadership, got the best out of us.

“He would have been the best coach I’ve had, without a doubt.”

Mr Trimble said most of the 1978 premiership players planned to attend the funeral in Broadford on Tuesday.

Loddon Valley Football League life member John Forbes remembered Mr Gleeson as a team-oriented person. 

“He always had his sights set on what he could do for others, not what he could do for himself,” Mr Forbes said. 

“He’s a very good man… a big loss.”

The couple called Bealiba home while Mr Gleeson coached Newbridge.

His work as a forestry commission officer saw the family move to Broadford in 1980.

Four years later, Mr Gleeson coached and captained the Broadford football club to a dual premiership.

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Both he and Mrs Gleeson were champion bowlers. 

Mrs Gleeson was the Broadford Bowling Club’s reigning champion, and had won two championships prior.

Her husband had two championships to his name.

Both Mr and Mrs Gleeson took on leadership roles at the club.

The couple was also involved in bowls in Seymour and Nagambie. 

“They just loved bowls,” Broadford Bowling Club president Stan McColl said. 

“They bowled all the time. We’re going to miss them.”

He expected up to 600 people would pay tribute to the couple on Tuesday.

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Broadford Junior Football Netball Club president Alwin Neilson said the Gleesons had a huge connection to the town’s sporting clubs, and were pillars of the community.

The couple owned a milk bar and a greengrocer’s shop in Broadford, and sponsored a number of junior and senior sporting clubs throughout the years. 

“Lyn was always giving us a hand in the canteen, and things like that,” Mr Neilson said. 

Mr Gleeson used to coach juniors. 

After they retired, they filled their days with family, friends and sports.

Fishing was a much-loved family pastime, and the Gleesons enjoyed spending weekends camping and casting a line out the back of their son Luke’s place.

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They enjoyed travelling, both domestically and internationally, and often visited Bali.

“It’s just tragic,” Mr Neilson said. 

“You don’t expect to hear these things have happened… they were just starting to enjoy their retirement.”

He remembered Mr Gleeson as a “lovable rogue”, and Mrs Gleeson as “the loveliest lady you’ll ever meet.”

“They were really, really well respected,” Mr Nielson said. 

“Our generation that are looking after the juniors now are the same age as their children – the generation that happened to be friends with their kids.

“You just don’t know what to say to people when these things happen. Everyone’s supporting everyone.”