The man who came to embody Coolum’s renowned community spirit, PAT TILEY, died last Friday. He had suffered a severe stroke two weeks before his death.
Pat was involved in so many community organisations and events that the latter part of his life reads like a history of Coolum.
Pat’s funeral was held on Wednesday at Drysdale’s Chapel at Tewantin.
Pat Tiley was born in Portsmouth, England on August 28, 1924. He was the youngest of three children and had a sister, Peggy, and a brother, Bill.
When he finished school he joined the navy as an artificer apprentice. He learnt to fly and loved planes all his life, flying everything from early navy helicopters to planes, to ultralights in later life.
Pat married when he was about 24. His first child, David, was born in Portsmouth in 1950.
Soon after, Pat went to Queens University in Ireland to complete higher studies, and he then became an engineer.
After this the family immigrated to Australia, arriving in Perth on January 3, 1956, and Pat went to work for the PMG.
In 1957 they moved to Darwin, where Elizabeth was born in 1958. South Australia was the next move, with the family moving to Adelaide in 1960.
In Adelaide, Pat left the PMG, and worked for Dunlite Electrical. This was an important time in Pat’s life, as his marriage broke up, and he spent much of his spare time at Lake Alexandrina with a close group of friends from work.
One of these was Edna, who went on to open a drapery store at Milang, a tiny town beside the lake.
In November 1981 Pat and Edna drove north to visit Pat’s brother, Bill, and his wife Ni at Bribie Island. They fell in love with the Coast, and particularly the little town of Coolum.
They packed everything up and towed it all the way from South Australia to begin a new life.
Because of his naval service, Pat was able to retire at 60, and he spent the rest of his life actively working for the community.
He was a Justice of the Peace, and became Queensland state president of the JP Society.
Both Pat and Edna were active in the formation of Coolum Meals on Wheels, and worked hard to establish the Meals on Wheels kitchen building.
Pat and Edna worked tirelessly for the Save Mount Coolum committee, which was formed in 1986, and which culminated in Mount Coolum becoming a National Park.
In 1987 Pat became president of the Coolum Australia Day Committee for the Bicentennial Year in 1988, and organised the parade which continues today.
The Bicentennial celebrations led to the formation of the Coolum Little Theatre, which both Pat and Edna became involved with.
He was active in Neighbourhood Watch, was president of the local Cancer Fund, and was president of Coolum Ratepayers.
Pat could see that Coolum needed an aged care facility, and was an important facilitator in the building of Coolum Waters Retirement Village, under the auspices of Sundale.
He also cared about the youth of the district, and was active in the establishment of the Coolum Youth Centre in the old cinema in 1997.
On Australia Day 1995 Pat was presented with the Lions Citizen of the Year award.
When Coolum Waters was built, Pat and Edna sold their much-loved house in Pandanus Avenue and moved into a three-bedroom house near the creek – they had their pick of which house they wanted because they were some of the first residents.
Pat became chairman of the residents’ committee, and continued helping, putting the flag up right until he took ill.
He was also Flag Master at the RSL, and enjoyed the camaraderie there.
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