Richard “Inch” Grey September 17, 1936 – June 8, 2017
Richard Grey, known to most as “Inch”, was the youngest child of seven.
The Grey families were renowned for giving nicknames. Charlie the eldest son was 17 years older than Inch, followed by Laurie, Geoff “Brown”, Ross “Sprat”, Nancy “Tigs” (now Baker) and Brian “Kiza”.
Their parents Horace and Doris Grey were affectionately known as “Bun” and “Dar”.
Sadly, Bun passed away suddenly at the age of 54 when Inch was only 16.
Inch’s early years were spent living at Marrawah until he was around seven years old, when his parents moved to Murray Street in Smithton – two doors away from where he lived for nearly 50 years.
After completing his schooling at Smithton High School, Inch spent time planting marram grass down at Sandy Cape. Many will have been entertained with stories of this time, where along with Ken Jackson and others they camped simply, eating duck, wallaby and crayfish, foods he continued to enjoy.
For a while after this, Inch worked for the Hydro before painting at Rosebery and Smithton with Sol Hunt and Basil “Bronc” Stokes.
In 1955, Inch completed national service at the Brighton training camp, being prepared for battle if required and following in the footsteps of his brothers. Dar had three boys head off to war, including Laurie who died as a prisoner of war.
In 1956, Inch met Faye (nee Cox) and they were married in February 1960 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Forest.
In May of that year the couple went sharefarming in Marrawah for eight years before relocating to Smithton in 1968 where Inch drove milk tankers for Cadbury.
In 1974, Inch decided to get back into the painting business and for a period worked with Buck Benson, before his son Darryn “Luke” joined him in the business. They continued to work together for the next 30 years.
Inch’s love for the outdoors continued, whether it be fishing, playing sport and shooting. Over the course of many years, Inch played football, serving on the committees with Smithton and Redpa football clubs.
He enjoyed 31 years of membership with the Collingwood Football Club, often resulting in much stirring and practical jokes, at which he was an expert.
He was a member of the Parents and Friends of Redpa and Smithton primary schools and Smithton High School.
He also served as a committee member of the RSL, the Smithton Country Club and Circular Head Polocrosse Club.
Inch always had the ability to make others laugh, often at his own expense. He was one of those rare people who could say something and get away with it. Family and friends always left his presence feeling better for having been in his company.
A favourite pastime over several years was helping Luke on his property: carting hay, moving electric fences, tending to horses, building stockyards and spending time with ‘his’ dogs.
Since retiring, Inch spent many hours in the vegetable garden and hot house, with family, friends and neighbours receiving the fruits of his labour.
Inch loved fishing in The Rugged Man, often questioning why other people were on the Duck River, or as he called it, his river. Many stories could be told of fishing trips down the Duck and Arthur rivers and Sinking Rock. There were many practical jokes played on these occasions.
Over the past few years, Inch enjoyed wonderful times with the Over 50s Marrawah Cricket crew, watching cricket games, enjoying bus trips and dinners – making beautiful, caring friends from these experiences.
Unfortunately early last year Inch was informed that he had pancreatic cancer, and may have three to six months to live. Considering he had already overcome heart surgery, prostate cancer, kidney stones, an aneurism and managed diabetes daily, this was considered just another challenge.
Inch’s positivity and determination, together with management of doctor’s appointments and prescriptions, saw him outlast this prediction by 12 months.
His 80th birthday was a wonderful celebration, with family and friends.
Inch is survived by wife Faye, son Luke, daughter Fiona and their families.