THE SOUTHERN Highlands lost one of its founding fathers this week with the death of Harry Springett.
Ronald Henry Springett, known to the community as Harry, died at Bowral Hospital at 1pm on Sunday from kidney failure after being admitted with pneumonia.
Mr Springett’s funeral will be held at St Simon and St Jude’s Anglican Church tomorrow at 10am.
Born at Mittagong in 1916, Mr Springett is a patriarch of Bowral’s prominent Springett family, responsible for the establishment of numerous business and community ventures within the district including Springetts’ Arcade and Bowral Tulip Time.
In 1976, he received an MBE for his 38 years service to the community through Local Government.
He served on Bowral Municipal Council from 1946 to 1980, including a record term of 11 years as mayor and nine years as deputy mayor.
When the local councils amalgamated, he served on Wingecarribee Council for a further six years from 1981 to 1987.
He was chairman of Berrima County Council for nine years from 1960 to 1971 and was also a delegate on Ilawarra County Council from 1981 to 1987, serving one year as chairman in 1984.
Cr David Wood served with Mr Springett on Bowral Municipal Council for 12 years and six years with Wingecarribee Shire Council.
He recalls a man who was determined to get things done within the community.
“I thought he was an excellent councillor, in fact, I think he was the best I’ve ever served with,” Cr Wood said.
“There wasn’t much Harry and his family weren’t involved in, for example, he was very instrumental in getting Bowral’s swimming pool built in 1970.”
Mr Spingett served in New Guinea during World War II from 1941 to 1945 on an armed tank in first division of the RAAC.
He was a member of the executive of the Electricity Commission of NSW for 10 years between 1961 and 1971 as well as president of the Bowral Tulip Time committee in 1961.
Among Mr Springett’s other accomplishments was his presidency with the Bowral/Mittagong Rotary Club in 1973-74, for which he was honoured when he received the Paul Harris fellowship.
In addition, Mr Springett was a keen sportsman in his younger days, playing prop for Bowral rugby league, playing golf, skiing and rollerskating.
However, according to nephew Tony Springett, it is Harry’s commitment to his family life that will be most fondly remembered.
“He was obviously a part of Springetts’ Arcade, which he loved and cherished, but the big thing in his life was his grandchildren, they were always around him, it’s a very close-knit family and Harry was a very caring father,” he said.
“Harry was a very fair man who people respected because he would put his opinion forward even though it might not be to the liking of his constituents.”
Harry had been married to his wife Jess for 54 years, had two daughters, Sandra and Robyn, as well as seven grandchildren, Courtney, Victoria, Mary, Jane, Ben, Holly and Sam.
Younger brother Ted Springett said his brother would be greatly missed by the family and local community.
“He was my older brother and we loved him dearly,” Mr Springett said.
“We can only thank him for a great lifetime.
“I have two great loves, music and magic, and he introduced me to magic when he came home with a trick when I was 12 years old.”
“Harry and I worked together all our lives, but he was more dedicated to Council than to Springetts’, he served during his whole life to Bowral and the district, that was always number one to him.
“He had a great respect for that sort of thing and we had a great respect for him for it.”