A LINK with a pioneering Kerang retail dynasty has been broken with the passing of Michael Hawthorne.
Hawthorne's store was a retail beacon at the corner of Victoria and Wellington Streets for 122 years. Mr Hawthorne had worked in the family business for 38 years when the store closed at the end of January 2001.
He was described at his funeral in the Uniting Church on Friday as a thoughtful, caring and loyal man and a person with the capacity for attention to detail. During 18 months after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, he updated the Hawthorne family history and wrote his own eulogy.
Mr Hawthorne, 80, died on January 26. He is mourned by his wife of 40 years, Glenis, and three children, Claire, Luke and Faith.
Funeral celebrant, the Rev. Gayle Teasdale said that Mr Hawthorne had lived life to the full and his life was shared with family, friends, customers and community.
Many former employees were among the mourners.
Michael McColl Hawthorne was born at the local bush nursing hospital to Winifred and Stan Hawthorne on December 23, 1938.
He was educated at Kerang State School and Scotch College, then gained retail and advertising experience in Melbourne with Myer and Foys.
Sporting interests in the city included playing and goal umpiring football with Old Scotch and cricket with Prahran.
Mr Hawthorne returned to Kerang in 1962 to join the family firm, working in the men's clothing department and later the seed department, which led to him meeting seed company employee, Glenis Fawcett.
They were married on March 8, 1978 at the Yarrawalla Uniting Church.
Mr Hawthorne played cricket in his home town with Fairley, Town and Rovers. He became a Riverside Park trustee and also played basketball, tennis and table tennis before later taking up bowls.
He wrote cricket match previews and reviews for the Northern Times newspaper and was later also Kerang Bowling Club correspondent.
In his eulogy delivered by bowls friend, Ian Roberts, Mr Hawthorne became a passionate bowler and was delighted to recently receive his super veteran's badge for reaching the age of 80.
The three Northern District Bowls Division pennant trophies are provided by the Hawthorne family.
Mr Hawthorne was a passionate Melbourne Football Club supporter and his coffin was adorned with a Demons scarf.
Mr Roberts said that Mr Hawthorne battled hard to keep his illness at bay and he described him as a positive and appreciative patient. Special mention was made of the compassionate care provided by medical staff.
Mr Hawthorne's brother, Peter, who also worked for many years in the family department store, paid an emotional tribute, saying Michael always thought of others.
He recounted the words of a saying that adorned the wall of their grandfather, George Hawthorne's store office: 'I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again'.
"That was my brother. He thought of others always," he said.