Tribute for surf life saver John Grosse

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
John Grosse passed away last month on March 9.
Camera IconJohn Grosse passed away last month on March 9. Credit: Crystal Bagley

Arguably, nobody knew Geraldton’s coastline better than John Grosse, 87, who died of pneumonia recently.

Mr Grosse had been a member of the Geraldton Surf Life Saving Club, a community group committed to patrolling local beaches and reducing coastal drownings since 1950.

Club members Hub Mainwaring, Gary Clark and Jack Herbert, who joined the GSLSC around the same time as Mr Grosse, paid tribute to their “brother” of six decades.

For Mr Mainwaring — father of the late, great footballer Chris Mainwaring — Mr Grosse will be remembered as a popular man who was very involved in the local community.

“It was such a huge funeral, there were so many people there, you couldn’t fit everyone inside,” Mr Mainwaring said, describing the ceremony for his late mate.

“Even at his age, he could still run down the beach like a whipper.

“Everybody knew John and he was like a brother to me.

“He was a very popular man.

“We tried to get him into politics and we’re sure he would have been successful, but his wife put a stop to that.”

Fellow surf lifesaver Jack Herbert, who will turn 90 in October, joined the local club in 1951 after moving to Geraldton from Perth.

He said his first impression of Mr Grosse was of a very friendly man, easy to get on with, and very genuine.

“He was always ready to do anything for the club,” Mr Herbert said.

“Even in his later years, it always seemed John would be the one to contact people, organise outings and everything.

“We shared some very happy times together and I have lasting memories.”

Gary Clark described Mr Grosse as a very positive person who went out of his way to help people.

“He hardly ever missed a function, he would help members out with costs if they needed to travel to compete,” Mr Clark said.

“He was always willing to help.

“He’s a club life member, but if only they had a legend title ... John would definitely be of that status.”

Mr Clark and Mr Grosse were elected life members in 1983.

Throughout Mr Grosse’s 65-year involvement with Geraldton Surf Life Saving Club, he held many executive positions and helped pioneer the female competition when women were permitted entry in the 1955-56 season. That year, he served as trainer and coach.

Outside of the club, he sold fuel, was a Justice of the Peace and was a City of Greater Geraldton councillor.

Mr Grosse is survived by his wife of 61 years, Glenys, and sons David, Peter and Ian.

His extended family includes daughters-in-law Jenny, Ronnette and Michelle and their children, Taiya, Sari, Courtney, Emily, Taylor, Marshall and Hayley.

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