Remembering Barry Gittus

Barry Gittus.

MAYDENA lost a well-known and loved local identity with the recent passing of Barry Gittus, who died at home on May 9. Born in December 1943, he was the elder son of Cecil Gittus and Ruby Marshall, members of two prominent Derwent Valley families.

The family, including siblings Sheila, Pauline, Winsome, Rex and Sandra, lived in a house in Kallista Rd, Maydena, and later at a farm further along the same road. Later they would move to Macquarie Plains.

Cecil Gittus worked as a rigger with Australian Newsprint Mills and his son Barry would eventually work for the company as well. The six Gittus children were educated at Maydena State School and Glenora District High School. After leaving school, Barry started a 30-year career with ANM at Maydena, remaining with the company until it withdrew from the town.

Maree and Barry Gittus.

In December 1969 Barry married Maree, and over the next 10 years they had four children: Tracey, Debbie, Michelle and Craig. The family lived in a company house in Kallista Rd, which they were later able to buy. They enjoyed many fishing and camping trips, especially to Lake Pedder.

After leaving ANM, Barry spent a year working in the hops industry and then moved into tree planting. Later, he took son Craig to work in the same field.

Speaking at Barry’s funeral, his eldest daughter Tracey said her father had enjoyed a happy and sometimes mischief-filled childhood in Maydena with his brother and sisters. “Most of my memories, as his daughter, of course come from the time after he met the love of his life,” Tracey said.

Barry Gittus as a young man.

“My earliest memories of my father are linked to the constant love and devotion he showed towards mum. For Dad, ‘Ree’ was the best thing to ever happen to him and everything for the next 50 years revolved around their love and commitment to each other.

“As a father, he was stern but when things got tough, as they always do, we knew he’d be there for us with love and understanding and never-ending support… our rock.  As a husband, father and friend he was always there whenever anyone needed him. The big broad shoulders to cry on when things seemed like they were as bad as they could get. We’re really going to miss those shoulders to cry on.”

Tracey, Debbie, Michelle
and Craig.

Tracey said her father had relished his role as a grandfather to 10, and great-grandfather to one, and even during his illness these children could put the light back into his tired eyes.

She said the family would remember Barry as the man who honoured his promise to their mother to live until their 50th wedding anniversary, making her the happiest woman alive on December 22 last year.

Son Craig recalled that when he finished high school and decided not to go to college, his father took him to work with him. “I’ve been planting trees ever since,” he said.

Barry and Maree Gittus last year.

The funeral service at the Graham Family Funeral Home in New Town  on May 14 was conducted by the Reverend Celia Hooker. Tracey and Craig delivered the eulogy and the service was watched online by 170 people.

Barry Gittus is survived by his wife Maree, their children, grandchildren and great-grandson, as well as his siblings and extended family.

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