Gunnedah man Harold Law was farewelled by family and friends at Edlen Chapel on August 3.
Harold James Law (Hal) was born on April 29, 1929 in Boomi NSW to Walter Law and Janet Rose (nee Hook). He grew up in a large and loving family, with siblings Walter junior, Fredrick, Janet, Joyce, Roy, Dorothy, Elaine, Wilma and June. Being the youngest boy, Hal was especially loved, even well into adulthood.
Harold’s parents were married in Boomi in July 1911. Years later, the family moved to Garah where Walter worked as a station manager in the area. Later they moved to Gunnedah so Walter could work on Quia Station. The family quickly became respected members of the community.
Hal and his sisters, Wilma and June, attended St Mary’s College after the family had moved into town to Bloomfield Street. Their father worked in the timber industry, as did Hal’s brother Roy, who drove timber trucks after he returned from war.
Horses had always been an important part of Hal’s life from the horse and sulky days of transport in town. To earn money as a teenager he would deliver milk to homes in Gunnedah on the milk cart.
During a cricket match in his teenage years, Hal was hit on the head with a cricket ball and lost his sight for months, however, it was eventually regained. His sisters said he bore the adversity bravely.
Hal worked as a butcher for the Baker family in Conadilly Street. At closing time, he had the responsibility of taking the day’s money bag to the Baker’s home in Barber Street with instructions to leave the bag on the back table if they were not home.
Later Hal worked at Foreman’s Butcher Shop in Barber Street. A photo of Hal wearing his apron outside the shop with Sammy Bush senior is still special to the family.
In his early 20’s, Hal started working for the Post Masters General’s (PMG) department and stayed in this role for the next 38 years. During the 1955 flood, Hal and other members of PMG worked in the flood water to restore phone lines for isolated people who needed assistance. He managed to climb up the tree trunks to lift the lines. Over the years, the name of PMG changed to Telecom, and then finally to Telstra.
Hal met his future wife Judith at the races at Boggabri Showground at the age of 26. Hal was competing in the Jimmy Sharman Boxing Tent and the first time Judith saw him was up on the platform in his boxing shorts, sparring in time with the drums. But a choice had to be made – boxing or bride.
Hal and Judith were married in Boggabri on December 17, 1955 and welcomed three children into their family. Owen was born in 1957 and was followed by Sue in 1961 and Boe in 1964. Hal was a loving father to his children, and they in turn deeply loved, adored and respected him. All three inherited Hal’s love for horses.
Hal was a member of the board of directors at the then-named Serviceman’s Club, when Bill Baxter was president. In this time frame, Hal and Owen (his eldest son) were members of a syndicate formed to purchase a ticket in a racehorse named Blossoms Luck but luck wasn’t with syndicate members – the horse only won one race at Bingara Jockey Club. However, years of friendship continued and other horses leased over the years were more successful.
Hal was part of a dedicated committee, which established the John Longmuir Playing Fields for junior rugby league. Hal then coached for many years.
In the late 1980s at the age of 59, Hal was diagnosed with Paget’s disease of bone, a chronic condition that causes abnormal enlargement and weakening of bone, which in turn narrows the spinal canal and can cause sciatica.
“In all that pain, he would smile,” Judith said.
For periods of time Hal was bed-bound and photos of the winning horses from his younger years were placed on his bedroom walls as a reminder of good memories.
When Hal was told there was no cure and no treatment for Paget’s disease, he accepted retirement from Telstra in 1988. Upon his retirement, Telstra presented him with a medallion of appreciation for 38 years of service.
Judith said Hal’s courage never failed him over the past 30 years as the Paget’s Disease slowly progressed, taking away his independence and mobility.
Hal died on July 31, 2018 and on August 4 a minute’s silence was held at his great-grandson’s junior rugby league game at the John Longmuir Playing Fields in honour of his contribution to the sport.
The Law family said many would remember Hal for “his cheeky smile, and his love of family and friends”.
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