Pioneer, missionary inspired community
Alexander Wilkinson Hewson
Born: March 1, 1925
Died: September 21, 2017
A pioneer of one of Geraldton’s biggest churches has died, aged 92.
About four decades ago, Alex Hewson established the Assemblies of God congregation which would later become known as Sun City Christian Centre, now part of the Australian Christian Churches.
The church had humble beginnings, starting with meetings at the Hewson home.
It now has a membership of hundreds, meeting at its own facilities in Karloo.
Mr Hewson’s life was transformed at the age of 34 when he made a commitment to Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in Perth in 1959.
Reflecting on that moment, he told family: “I was truly convinced of the need of help in my life. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to take a stand for Jesus.”
He joined the Bassendean Church of Christ and was baptised.
Seven months later, he and wife Jess and their six children packed up their belongings and made the dusty journey on mostly unsealed road to Carnarvon to work as missionaries.
Along the way, they picked up a hitchhiker, who accidentally started a fire in their Bedford truck with a cigarette.
The family pressed on, undeterred, arriving with singed furniture and household effects.
As part of their work in Carnarvon, the Hewsons were 24/7 house parents to more than 30 children from remote properties.
Mr Hewson, trained as a jobbing moulder, also turned his hand to gardening and handyman work, at one point working at the NASA tracking station and Geraldton Regional Hospital.
Family members spoke of his particular fondness for growing roses, always happy to assist when it came to pruning for the family.
Mr Hewson was instrumental in forming the Living Waters church in Carnarvon, helping establish it as a growing congregation by the time the family moved to Geraldton in 1968.
He was also involved in establishing churches at Leeman and Kalbarri.
Mr Hewson was infectiously joyful and positive, but was no stranger to adversity.
He lost his first wife Nancy Wheeler to cancer while they had three children, the youngest aged six months.
Seven years later, he married Jess Langridge.
In 1982, he lost her to leukaemia.
In 1983, he married Shirley Craine and by this stage the family had grown to eight children and four stepchildren.
Upon his death the family included 30 grandchildren and about 30 great-grandchildren.
At a memorial service recently, family paid tribute to Mr Hewson’s spiritual strength, trust in God and good humour.
Sun City Christian Centre senior pastor Graham Fabian described Mr Hewson as a champion of the faith who had lived a beautiful life, still loving his saviour at the end.
Alex Hewson is survived by wife Shirley and a big family of various ages.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails