John Duncan Portass was born on June 18, 1942, at Inishone Private Hospital at Inverell. He was the only son of Norman Algie Portass and Margaret Elizabeth Portass and, together with his three sisters Gwen, Helen and Lyn, resided at 10 Wood Street, Inverell.
He recalled as a child about 8 years of age, when he sat on his Uncle Claud's knee and helped him drive a 'Red Rattler' train from Hornsby to Central Station, Sydney. This was considered one of his fondest memories.
John attended Inverell Public School where he was a champion runner, then went on to Inverell High School where he was an Army Cadet. He went on guard for Anzac Day Memorial in 1957. He also played on the football team.
John left school early to go into partnership with his father as a seed grading contractor. At the time, he was not yet old enough to drive but was provided with a special licence so he could drive while working.
In the early days, many nights were spent sleeping under the stars and away from home. He eventually took over the grading business which he operated until 1979 when he purchased the Comet Express freight business in partnership with his wife, Jude.
Later this became T.N.T. They ran the business until their retirement in 2011.
During their time at Comet/T.N.T, they won agent of the year over 80 other branches, and we're the longest-serving agents in Australia. John was well known for his hard-working nature, had never had a sick day and was mostly self-employed.
John met his one true love Jude when they were teenagers, an instant attraction that lasted sixty years.
John and Jude were married on 22nd May 1965 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church Inverell. They received a paper blessing from Pope Paul the sixth. They had three Sons. David, Andrew and Aaron.
They built their first home in Short Street, John dug most of the foundations and did the labouring and Jude undercoated weatherboards with pink primer.
Many a weekend was spent at Copeton Dam in the Easy Rider and fishing. John always liked using a handline over a rod and real bait not lures. He also liked a heavy line that resembled whipper snipper cord.
John was always involved in his sons sports, acting as Coach and Treasurer of Inverell Junior Soccer Association for many years and he was also involved in the Lake Inverell Committee with Darryl Barnes when the lake was being redeveloped into a recreation area.
He loved his Parramatta Eels, especially in their golden run in the 1980s. He said the games were way tougher back then. He attended several Grand Finals around this time.
John always dreamed of owning a brick house with a tile roof on a bit of land and on December 3, 1988, John and his family said goodbye to 24 Short Street and moved to 'Oakwind' Lake Inverell Drive, which was home until his final days.
John and Jude worked hard all their lives but finally called it quits in 2011 and took a long-awaited holiday to Cairns and Port Douglas then ventured overseas.
A highlight was when they travelled through 17 European countries and along the Danube River, Amsterdam to Budapest. This was a special cruise. It was Andre Rieu Blue Danube cruise which included Andre's concert in Maastricht.
In years that followed, there were trips to Canada and the Yukon - and yes he still wore t-shirts and shorts in the snow! And in Vietnam, John crawled through the Cu-Chi Tunnels, cruised the Mekong through Cambodia and then the couple toured New Zealand.
As much as he liked to travel, John loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
When Poppy saw the grandkids coming, he would load his favourite reclining chair with coins and enjoy the looks on the kids' faces when they found the money they thought fell out of his pockets.
John loved the outdoors, going for his morning walk to the lake and spending many hours in his veggie patch. He loved to tinker in his shed with his welder fixing what needed fixing and making anything from aeroplanes to scarecrows.
John and Jude celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2015, a wonderful occasion that was celebrated by their extended family.
In 2017, John said 'I think we should renew our wedding vows' so on September 3, 2017, John and Jude renewed their wedding vows at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Inverell.
After a 10-year cancer battle that recently became aggressive requiring immediate life- saving surgery, followed by numerous complications, John sadly passed away on Wednesday, October 14 at Tamworth Base Hospital after a very brave and courageous battle for life. He passed away in Jude's arms with his three sons by his side.
John leaves behind his wife Jude and three sons David, Andrew and Aaron. Five grandchildren: Martie, Thomas, Liam, Alex and Marhli. Four great-grandchildren: Xzavier, Mason, Hudson and Jordyn.
John lived a wonderful life.