League and community star fondly remembered
HE WAS a man of league and a man of community, and will be remembered as such when loved ones gather next week.
John Strong, who was president of the Tweed Men of League for a decade, will be farewelled in a memorial service at the Kirra Hill Cultural Centre on Friday, January 12.
Memorial organiser Neil "Bing" Pringle encouraged all friends of Mr Strong to attend. Mr Pringle said he'd known Mr Strong for about half a century.
John was born in Sydney and raised on the northern beaches, where he and Mr Pringle first crossed paths.
"He was involved in volunteer surf clubs from a young age and was a beach sprinter of prowess," Mr Pringle said.
Mr Strong played rugby league for Manly, chalking up some 100 games in the 1960s and 1970s.
He then went on to become a police prosecutor, working in magistrates courts in Sydney.
"He met his current wife, Judi, and fell in love and moved to the Tweed and Gold Coast area in the mid to late 70s," Mr Pringle said.
After settling down on the Tweed, Mr Strong became heavily involved in his community.
"When Tweed Mall first opened he and Judi had the original sandwich place in the mall," he said.
"Then he became involved in running hotels."
Mr Strong was president of the Bilambil Rugby League Football Club for more than 20 years and was a foundation member of the Men of League Foundation.
"He became president of Tweed Men of League and was president for over 10 years," Mr Pringle said.
Mr Pringle said the league legend would be remembered fondly by all.
"Wherever he went, whatever he was involved in, he was there with his wisdom, his knowledge and his ability to be able to glue people together," he said.
"John was responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars while in the Tweed area for various charities and sporting organisations.
"He was a very hard-working person who got people off their bums, got people organised and got people moving in the right direction.
"He was a giving sort of bloke all his life. He had many, many friends and no enemies. The community was a great beneficiary of his work and he'll be sadly missed."
Mr Strong's daughter, Rebecca, said her dad - who fell ill late last year - was always ready to lend a hand and would be "greatly missed".
"Dad was always the first to help anyone out and was the most open and non judgemental person," she said.
Ms Strong recalled her father as an "amazing story-teller with an even better sense of humour".
"(He) loved a schooner or three but would still get up on the weekends with our mum Judi to be at all our sporting activities," she said.
"(Dad) couldn't cook to save his life but always insisted on charcoaling anything on the barbecue plate. He never let any of us down and always had real straight-up advice."
Mr Pringle said they expected a broad portion of the local community and those from his long sporting and prosecution backgrounds to gather for his memorial. Mr Strong is survived by his wife Judi, daughter Rebecca and sons Michael and Shawn.