Relatives of Ipswich businessman Desmond Joseph Springall carry his coffin after a funeral at which his close family and friends paid their respects. Photo: Claudia Baxter
Relatives of Ipswich businessman Desmond Joseph Springall carry his coffin after a funeral at which his close family and friends paid their respects. Photo: Claudia Baxter

Family pays tribute to Des

ABOUT 100 relatives and friends yesterday paid their respects to well-known Ipswich jack-of-all-trades Desmond Springall.

Mr Springall lost a long battle with leukemia and skin cancer on April 8, passing away at the age of 81.

He is survived by a big, loving family, which includes 40 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren, as well as his wife of 62 years, Kathleen, and eight of the 10 children they had together.

During the service at the Len Russell Funeral Chapel in West Ipswich, grandson Richard Clayton said "Des" was a larrikin as well as a handyman.

"Des was actively involved in the local skating arena," Mr Clayton said.

"He would regularly dress up as a clown and, at Christmas time, Santa, to entertain the children.

"He also liked his motorbikes. One in particular he named Kathleen in honour of his wife, which they enjoyed touring together on, when the time permitted."

The Springall name can still be seen emblazoned out the front of the Moffatt St house in Ipswich that Des and Kathleen have lived in since 1962.

That home became the basis for many of Des's business ventures over the past half century.

His colourful working life began with a job as a mechanic at Barnes Auto.

Then he turned his attention to cabinet-making, ice and butchery deliveries, furniture removal and a dealer in new and second-hand furniture.

"All of these business ventures were located at various locations in the Ipswich area," Mr Clayton said.

"In retirement he continued his mechanical and woodworking interest by building cubby houses, pot plant holders, laundry trolleys and various other items made of timber, before finally doing mowers and repairs."

Many long-term Ipswich residents would be familiar with seeing a variety of Des's creations on display outside his house on the way out to West Ipswich.

He was continuing a long and proud heritage of Springalls doing business in the Ipswich area.

It began in 1860 with Des's great grandfather Frederick, who built a foundry business at the site of the Ipswich RSL, building steam locomotive engines.

The first train to run on the Grandchester line was powered by an engine from the Phoenix Foundry - an operation proudly owned by the Springall and Frost families until 1912.

Frederick became mayor of Ipswich in 1915.

Des's grandparents, Reginald and Colleen, opened Springall Furnishing Supplies in Brisbane St in 1932. It survived till the early '50s. Des focused on ice delivery, furniture removal and second-hand sales for the next 25 years. His sons have helped run the business since then.

In a touching tribute to a hardworking life, family placed a little red lawn mower at the foot of Des's coffin during the ceremony.

"During the early '80s to the mid-'90s the highlight of their week was the Friday night bingo sessions at Freddie Langer's at Leichhardt and St Lawrence's at West End," Mr Clayton said.

In February, 2009, Des and Kathleen moved to Bundaleer Lodge, where they continued to enjoy playing bingo.

"Des, Desi, Desmond, Old Boy, Pa or Grandpa certainly achieved a lot in his life," Mr Clayton said.

'He would regularly dress up as a clown and, at Christmas time, Santa, to entertain the children.'



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