Every day was a good day for Keith Cole

Keith Cole when he was a boy.

Susanna Freymark

Keith Cole was remembered at his funeral service for being a man who liked a good chat.

Keith was often out and about – “He’s bloody yapping again,” one of his family members would say.

He’d return home after dark because he had been talking with someone.

About 250 people were at Keith’s service in Casino yesterday, Tuesday, January 16 to honour the man who loved conversation and life.

Keith died at the age of 92 on January 7, 2024.

Known as the unofficial mayor of Rappville and Busby Flat, Keith had “hundreds of great stories” to tell.

His grown-up children Sharen, Joy and Ross spoke about their father.

“He loved a good chat and a coffee,” they said.

Keith loved a chat and a cuppa.

“He was a man of his word and his handshake was his contract.”

Keith was born in 1931 and he went to Rappville Public School.

When he left school he worked on the family farm at Busby Flat and then went on to Tooloom to cut railway sleepers and returned to the farm in 1951.

He was a groomsmen for friends nine times before he became a groom himself when he married Janice Reeves in 1960. They had five children.

Keith worked at the sawmill for some time while running the cattle farm. In 2014, Keith and Janice moved to town – Casino.

Throughout his life, Keith gave back to his community in so many ways.

He was captain of the Rappville Fire Brigade from 1960–2015 and deputy senior captain until 2020.

He was proud of being Richmond Valley’s 1991 Citizen of the Year.

Janice and Keith with Keith’s award for Citizen of the Year.

Yet it was the memories of sitting around the kitchen table listening to Dad’s stories, that his children recalled so fondly.

“He loved his animals. He was in his element when mustering, it was a sight to see.”

His nine grandchildren loved him.

Despite Keith’s main saying being – “Behave yourself”, he was the biggest kid of them all.

He was a keen tennis player too.

He had the nickname of ‘Mick’  because a neighbour said he looked like a Michael, and the name stuck.

“Dad didn’t care what you called him as long as it wasn’t late for breakfast.”

He and Janice loved each time another grandchild was born.

“Hello Little One,” Keith said to each baby when he met them for the first time.

Keith was captain at Rappville Fire Brigade.

He’d rock the babies to sleep and when the twins were born he had two armfuls of babies.

He shared farm life with the grandchildren teaching them fire safety and whistling.

At community events in Rappville, he was always the first to come and the last to leave.

“If the toilet pipes at the showground were blocked, he’d be there with the fire pumper unblocking them.”

And he spent time making sure the cemetery at Busby Flat was maintained.

Keith was a huge fan of Beef Week.

You’d find him on a hay bale at the cattle ring in Barker Street, one if his daughters said.

“He believed every day was a good day.”

Keith had five children: Sharen, Allen (deceased), Ian (deceased), Ross and Joy, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

At the funeral service in Casino.
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