John Harper volunteered for many Whitsunday community organisations.
John Harper volunteered for many Whitsunday community organisations.

Vale John Harper

John Harper

July 18, 1927 - February 10, 2019

JOHN Harper has been remembered by his family as a faithful, loyal, intelligent, witty, loving and kind man.

He loved classical music, literature and poetry and he had a great reverence for life.

He also had a love for the Whitsundays after first visiting at the age of five, later living here for a year when he was 17 and eventually retiring here in 1981.

Mr Harper had a life full of adventure in his early years and peace and tranquillity in later life.

He was born July 18, 1927 in a little army hill station in India where his father - a professional soldier - was posted.

Mr Harper spent a year in the Whitsundays when he was five years old and came to visit his mother's family who had immigrated to Preston before later moving to Airlie Beach.

His family immigrated to Australia when his dad's time in the Army ended in 1945, when Mr Harper was aged 17.

He worked in the mill with his father and uncle during the crush of 1945, before heading to Brisbane the next year to study sugar chemistry, something he did for a while before decided it wasn't for him.

Mr Harper married his wife Joanne in 1953 after meeting her at a dance in Brisbane five years earlier.

In the mid 1950's Mr Harper began working for the airline ANA, which later became TAA, and worked as a load allocation officer, which involved calculating and distributing the weight on the aircraft.

In the late 1950's he joined Qantas, remaining with it until he retired.

Among his roles at Qantas Mr Harper worked as an airport manager in Cairo, Jakarta and Singapore, before becoming sick with yellow jaundice and spending six months in hospital.

He spent the rest of his career with Qantas working in administration in Australia until he retired in 1980.

In 1981 he moved back to the Whitsundays, living in Airlie Beach until 2000 before living in Strathdickie for the remainder of his life.

While Mr Harper was a reasonably private man, he had a great respect for life and was a true humanitarian, which his family thinks was the motivation for his long service as a volunteer for many community organisations in the area.

These included the Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday and Whitsunday Marine Club, Proserpine Meals on Wheels, Whitsunday Community Centre, board of the Proserpine Nursing Home, advisory board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

He also did a weekly classical music session on community radio and helped underprivileged people with their tax returns.

Mr Harper was described as a "giant" in VMR Whitsunday's history by the local VMR.

His roles included being an honorary life member and past president.

Mr Harper led the way in the transition of Air Sea Rescue and the emergence of VMR Whitsunday as the first VMR in Queensland.

He also played a leading role to keeping public space for community use at Whisper Bay, preserving the boat ramp and VMR base.

He is survived by wife Joanne, son John, daughter-in-law Helen Maund and grandchildren Georgina, Gabriele and Ellie Harper.


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