(23 August 1923 – 26 April 2021)
A Life Well Lived
Louis Ronald Ager was born in Nurse Ashes house in North Perth on 23rd August 1923. Always to be known as Ronnie or Ron.
His medical history if anything, gave him a most fortunate life. Why? Because, from his early days his Grandmother was often heard to say, “that poor wee Ronnie is just a bag of bones”, and his school reports stating, “Did well despite absences from illness”. Ron’s earliest employment was with the State Saw Mills from April 1935. In December 1941 he enlisted as W19683 in the AIF – Service Corp. He was manpowered out in September 1942.
However, improved health convinced him and the Royal Australian Air Force medics on 5 June 1943 that he was suitable for Aircrew training. Initially he was a Trainee Pilot – with his old school mate (and later his Best Man) John Casson as his instructor.
On the way to Canada for Pilot Training with the Empire Training Scheme, Ron’s asthma played up and was disembarked in San Francisco and spent some time in Letterman Hospital under the care of the Royal Canadian Air Force until he was repatriated to Australia. On his return he undertook a Fitters Course until once again ill health saw him eventually being discharged as Permanently Medically Unfit on 18 July 1945.
The one thing that is learnt from Ron’s service is that he was determined to make a valuable contribution, and for this, his tenacity has to be admired. It really reflects the attitude of all service people during WW2, they all wanted to play their part and contribute to Australia’s War effort.
Ron was obviously a realist and accepted the fact that his health may impact his life, but obviously he was not going to let it stop him from living a fortunate life. Typically, when Ron asked his girlfriend Norma to marry him, it was only on the basis that she fully understood that he would be the first to go because of his ongoing health issues.
On discharge Ron was employed with Post War Reconstruction until the C.E.O. guided him to the Commonwealth Bank in July 1947. Thirty four years passed and with good luck tapping him on his shoulder, it was work that he truly enjoyed.
From an early age, and to support of his Mother’s Christian beliefs, Ron regularly attended Church. He relished that association, firstly at St. Margaret’s in North Perth and then Innaloo church from 1967 until its closure in March 2007. His then attendance at Wembley Downs, he thought, arrived a little late in his years for him to contribute as he would have wanted as a Life Elder of the Presbyterian/ Uniting Churches.
Ron was a Church Elder, participated on the Aged Care Council for the Uniting Church for 10 years and was the inaugural Chairman of Chrystal Halliday. He oversaw the building of that facility 50 years ago.
He was proud of his continuing association with the Church, the 1937 Perth Boys Group, his annual Air Force get-togethers, and personal contacts with many friends.
Over the past few years Ron said many times that he was not sure how he was still here at the age of 95, 96, 97 and couldn’t really believe he was that old and the last one standing. Often, when asked his age he would say “92” – he never lost his amazing sense of humour.
Even when very ill he would say that he didn’t feel too good. His family would reply “It’s because you have fluid build-up, a fractured pelvis, or pneumonia.” His usual reply, “No, it’s because I’m old”.
Ron reflected that his interest in motor vehicles helped him in his Bank career. He said that “The outgoing officer, knowing my interest in motor vehicles, would recommend me to the vacancy – it was worth at least two promotions”. Motor vehicles was a hobby that also gave him lasting pleasure and the opportunity to help people start car ownership on a sound footing. It was his care in vehicle selection that generated a comment from one car dealer that, “You are too fussy”.
His first car was a 1936 Rover sedan and he paid £300, a lot of money back then but cars were scarce after the war. Fifty additional cars later in 2017 he said, “I’m out for good”. A total of 51 cars, not bad records to have.
Ron did indeed have a fortunate life.
|Ron proudly served his Country, his Church and was a regular attendee at the RSLWA North Beach Sub-Branch. He was fondly thought of, and We Will Remember Him.|