Obituary: David Pollack

The following obituary appeared in The Toowoomba Chronicle on the 6th Dec 2015

OBITUARY: Dedicated Teacher loved bush


RETIRED teacher David Pollack was described as an absolutely wonderful and caring man, an amazing twin, a devoted brother, a loving husband, a doting father and a friend and companion of many.

That is how his twin sister, Robyn, defined him at his funeral service at Nerang on the Gold Coast where he had retired at Broadbeach with Jacque.

They had also lived in Toowoomba and Brisbane.

He died suddenly on August 3, 2015.

Robyn also said of her active brother, who loved nature and the bush:”David’s life journey was very much like a long walk in the bush. There were a few mountains to climb and rivers to cross, waterfalls, lush fields and the beauty of shining stars. But David always emerged from the bush safe and sound and intact.”

She related how David was born in Lismore on July 16, 1945, 20 minutes before her, with the twins the youngest of a family of five.

The birth coincided with the testing of the first atom bomb in New Mexico in the United States, prompting David to claim later in life that he was the first child born into the nuclear age.

David’s wife Jacque was supported by daughter Lydia as she spoke inspirationally of her husband and how he had celebrated his 70th birthday only three weeks before.

“He told some wonderful stories of his life which entertained and gave us a greater understanding of him,” she said.

“He was so happy and elated after that day and was uplifted by the love and friendships shared.”

In the time since the party she said how they had spent time at a special place – Girraween, near Stanthorpe – and around home “doing simple things that represent the best of what we shared in life together – nature, bush, golf, music, campfires, stars and moons, fun and above all friends and family”, all part of what had been a wonderful life together of travel and adventure.

Because his father was a teacher, David attended several schools around New South Wales before graduating as a teacher himself from University of Newcastle.

He was called up for National Service and served in the army; as he related on his 70th birthday he let his feelings against the then Vietnam War be known and was posted as a member of Education Corps to Papua New Guinea.

Friend Andrew Farr recalled how David bush-walked around Mt Barney and the Scenic Rim among other places here and overseas.

He and Jacque also established a swimming and fitness centre in Toowoomba before David returned to the work he loved, teaching.

While teaching geography at Toowoomba State High School David initiated an outdoor education program for students taking in both Girraween and Carnarvon Gorge.

A few years later, with then only child Jessica, they left Toowoomba for David to spend a year on a teacher exchange program at Abergeveny in South Wales.

Just before they were to come back to Australia Jessica was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died 18 months after their return in 1985.

It was a tumultuous time for the couple back in Toowoomba and their recovery was helped by the birth of another daughter, Lydia, in 1990 who gave “renewed vigour and purpose” to their lives.

They later moved to Brisbane and David taught at Springfield College while Jacque operated a fitness centre at Ashgrove with help from her husband at night, weekends and during vacation.

They also found time to become heavily involved in Lydia’s school activities.

“David’s innate sense of his spot in the world made him the excellent educator that he was,” Andrew said.

“He was dedicated to the teaching profession and steeped in the purpose of his role. He always wanted to equip his students for their life ahead not just intellectually, but also in practical self-reliance.

“He did not ever complain of the workload or student profile, notwithstanding he would have faced many challenges every day. I never heard him deride the ability or actions of any student he taught.”

Another of many friends, Peter Olsen, recited a poem, The Call of the Bushland, by Stella P. Bell, that reflected David’s love of the bush.

Those wishing to make a tribute were invited, in lieu of flowers, to make a donation to National Parks Association of Queensland.

A gathering of more than 150 at his farewell service was told that on August 3, 2015, a star in the cancer constellation was officially registered as David Pollack.

This star shines at the verified position of RA 8082 and Declination +13.09.

David Pollack is survived by wife Jacque, daughter Lydia, siblings Nerida, Kevin, Merrilie and Robyn, parents-in-law Max and Audrey as well as Pax the dog.

Jacque ended her tribute by describing how David was at the peak of his life – fit, happy and feeling great to be alive, as he had said himself recently.

“He has left us suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving us bereft, but we will live on to the full, use what we have learned from him and honour his life with love and respect,” she said.

“As he has told us, ‘All is Well’.”

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