Advice has been received of the passing of Taff Strathie.  His funeral was held on Monday 24th June 2019 at the Nowra City Church, McMahons Road, North Nowra.

More than 500 people paid tribute to the man universally known as Strath, who passed away on June 13, aged 73.

Those gathered heard of a man who was one of the most community-minded people that has graced the town, who loved being involved in numerous groups and organisations.

Ian Strathie had many loves – sailing, was an enthusiastic onlooker of Tall Ship festivals, entertaining, music, he loved company and being involved and had a genuine desire to give back.

He could relate to people of all walks of life. Everyone was treated the same, and he wasn’t afraid to look outside the square.

Ian Edward George Strathie was born in Cardiff, Wales, on April 27, 1946, the eldest child of Dot and Laurie Strathie. He was a brother to Malcolm and Lynne.

The Strathie family lived above their fish and chip shop in Cardiff, just four blocks from Cardiff Arms Park, the home of Welsh rugby and close to Cardiff Castle.

Three aspects of Ian’s personality emerged from his Welsh upbringing – his love of music, his beautiful singing voice and a passion for hot chips.

He loved trains and with his brother Malcolm would spend hours “train spotting” taking down the makes, models and times from their perch on the railway bridge.

He was in the choir at school and enjoyed his schooling before the family emigrated to Australia in 1958 travelling on the SS Orontes via Gibraltar, Naples, Aden, Ceylon and Perth before setting in Adelaide.

When he was 18 Ian enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy, spending 20 years in service, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

Over the years he served on many ships and at many training establishments including – HMAS Cerebus, Albatross, Sydney, Rushcutter, Melbourne, Vendetta, Harman, Penguin, Watson, VC 724 squadron and VS816 Squadron

He made many friends over the years, many who remained life long mates.

The Hall family introduced Ian and Kath, who was from Kiama.

Romance blossomed and they married on July 19, 1969 in Adelaide, their first child Scott arrived nine months later.

The couple were just weeks short of their 50th anniversary when Ian passed away.

The family started married life in Mackay Street, Nowra before settling in Quickmatch Street.

Fiona arrived to complete the family’s pigeon pair, with Kath holding the fort while Ian was away with his naval service.

From Quickmatch Street the Strathies had a family home built in Tomerong and despite Ian loving the navy, the ships and the sea, being away from everyone was hard and he discharged in 1984.

He dabbled for a while in business management training and worked for Wray Owen Funerals which led to the opportunity to buy the business, house and premises in Douglas Street, Nowra in 1985. That business combined with Mullers Funeral Home in 1995. The funeral industry was very different in those days – there were no mobile phones so someone literally had to stay at home all the time to answer the phones.

The family’s beautiful home at Worrigee was a welcome separation from the office in 1993.

Ian was heavily involved in the Australian Funeral Directors Association, being a NSW ACT Division councillor for more than 30 years and was widely regarded and respected in the industry. He was president of the division in 2003-05, a national councillor and alternation national councillor. He also served or chaired numerous committees at divisional and national level.

In 2013 he was presented with the Master Funeral Director Award and in 2014 the distinguished service award. He was part of the NSW ACT Group representative of the Australia Funeral Directors at the Senate inquiry into the funeral industry.

Ian was also a member of the selected Independent Funeral Homes, an invitation-only international group of funeral directors who share their values and ideas.

He was a proud man – proud of his heritage, proud of his navy career, proud of his business and involvement in the funeral industry.

He was proud of this town, proud of his appearance, his home and his roses, his wife Kath all her support and all they achieved and proud of his kids.

He enjoyed his time teaching at TAFE training and development and has been a great supporter of the hospitality courses at TAFE.

A generous sponsor of local clubs and many other enterprises and member of the Chamber of Commerce where he was president at one stage, the Jaycees, South Nowra Rotary and Toastmasters just to name a few.

Ian was diagnosed with oesophagal cancer just after his birthday in 2016. He underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy.

The gathering heard it was eventually “a nasty bug in his new heart valve that got him.”

He was the dearly loved husband of Kath. Cherished father and father-in-law of Scott and Matina, Fiona and Scott. Adored Pa Wa of Brendan, Kieren, Thomas, Luke, and Jessica.”

Text and images by The South Coast Register.