Eulogy for John Quatermass
The Chairman of CTC, Howard Leisemann has asked me to read the following brief message before I talk in a little more detail about John’s involvement with CTC:
“John Quatermass has made a significant contribution towards moulding South Burnett CTC into the resourceful and dedicated community focused organization we see today.
I have had the pleasure of working beside JQ for much of the time throughout the developing years of CTC since its conception many years ago.
I am sure I speak on behalf of all current members of the Board and also all those who have served on CTC committeeswith JQ over the years when I express sincere respect for the good John has achieved during his life and the dedication and commitment he has displayed.
JQ’s family can rightfully reflect on his life in the South Burnett with a sense of pride and honour and can today celebrate the life of a respected pioneer of our community.”
JQ wasn’t quite the instigator and founder of CTC in 1983 that he firmly believed he was – it would be an injustice to the people who started it all to perpetuate that myth. But he was certainly an early strong supporter and the man who put it on solid foundations through his excellent networking skills and knowledge of setting up and managing an incorporated body. JQ became Chairman from 1987 to 1992 and was Deputy Chair from 1992 until 2007, when he was made Patron in recognition of his great contribution to CTC for over 20 years.
A Board of 11 and more than 200 employees now genuinely mourn his passing.
JQ was incredibly proud of “his” CTC – so much so that in recent years he insisted in sending our Annual Reports (which have become fairly glossy!) to anyone he considered should know about our achievements – from the Prime Minister down and including the Churchie Old Boys Association! He also told anyone who asked and many who didn’t that CTC was surely the best organization of its kind in Australia – I am sure that many in this congregation can just hear him say it!
In recent years his direct involvement consisted mainly of very regular attendance at board meetings and functions and of visits of a more private nature to get his photocopying done, some help with his family research or with looking after his mail when he was away. He insisted on paying for such help and did so by taking supplies of fresh fruit to youth services – where he would engage in a chat over a cup of tea and reminisce on the early days.
In those earlier days he could be quite a dragon – I remember well being chastised frequently over allowing staff to chat and have a giggle or over not enforcing his rule that no-one was to walk over the grass outside the Artie Kerr Building. He also never forgot that one very early staff member liked to walk around barefoot – so he always checked on our footwear!
His admonitions didn’t end with staff either, quite a number of departmental officers used to get told off for some perceived breaking of the rules, especially if they failed to acknowledge the superiority of his knowledge of meeting procedure! Political correctness was not a term JQ ever understood – good on him! John could approve or disapprove equally strongly of people and projects and sometimes it could be very hard to know why either was the case – or what to do about it. Some people or organisations were on the black list forever, but with others, me included, they could be the best or the worst all in the same day!
The bottom line though was always that John cared very deeply about CTC and its vision and mission and that he was a stalwart friend and supporter of the organization and all its members. CTC would not be what it is today and above all it could not do the work it does for so many disadvantaged people in the South Burnett if John had not been there. We owe him a debt of gratitude and we will not forget him.
Chief Executive - South Burnett CTC