Doug Eaton

Mourners pay last respects to John Felsch

MORE than 450 people packed into St Mary's Anglican Church at Ballina yesterday morning for the funeral of long-serving Ballina councillor, John Felsch.

Mr Felsch died on February 23 after a short battle with cancer.

The Keith Hall resident was well known for his passion for local government, having served a total of 32 years as a Ballina alderman and councillor.

He was also a successful cane farmer and owned a hire car business.

His son, David Felsch, told mourners his father was a hard worker who cared about his local community.

"Dad loved his place. He was very proud of his heritage. The house he grew up in was 100m from the one he died in," he said.

He also gave an insight into his energy and sense of humour.

"Dad taught us well," David Felsch said. "He used to say, 'Do as I say, not as I do'.

"He created a whirlwind wherever he went, so our nickname for him was Cyclone John."

Former Ballina council general manager Gary Faulks said council meetings during the 1970s were "fairly dramatic and fiery" but Mr Felsch had a simple solution when they dragged on into the early hours.

"John got a motion passed so meetings had to finish at midnight. After that, if a meeting was still going, John would often just walk out.

"But he always turned up.

"He was very rarely an apology.

"John was a genuine, hard-working Aussie."

Alan Spencer knew Mr Felsch his entire life, and said he was always looking for something new to do.

He recalled his involvement in Apex, the Lions club and ratepayers' association.

"John was the kind of man who called a spade a spade," Mr Spencer said.

"But he never held a grudge.

"If he did agree with you on something, he would go all out to help you with it.

"John had a great, outgoing personality and a good sense of humour."

Mr Felsch is survived by his partner, Therese, and his three children to former wife Rhonda - David, Adrian and Roslyn.

Therese wrote a note to accompany the funeral service booklet, describing John as the love of her life.

"We had so many wonderful experiences together and I shall treasure those memories."

North Coast mayors including David Wright, Jenny Dowell, Col Sullivan and Ernie Bennett were at the funeral, as well as Page MP Janelle Saffin. It was also attended by a number of current and former councillors and staff members.

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