Deli Don honoured as a hero of working voters
HE was the proud Ipswich representative that earned respect over the years for never forgetting where he came from, but yesterday it was Ipswich's turn to remember Donald Wallace Livingstone.
Several hundred people packed into the North Ipswich Reserve corporate centre yesterday to farewell the man they called Deli Don, a former Ipswich City Councillor and State Member for Ipswich West that served his people in one form or another from 1985 to 2006.
He passed away peacefully last Thursday, following a battle with stomach cancer.
Few would argue that Mr Livingstone left us having not done enough, but as it turns out; his legacy may well end up bringing further benefits to the city.
He left Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale with a dying wish for Ipswich Hospice Care - the palliative care centre where he spent his final days - to get a new, larger car park and pedestrian crossing.
It's a wish Cr Pisasale told the gathering he planned to see honoured.
"I went to hospice expecting to console him and all he wanted to do was take me for a walk around the hospice car park," Cr Pisasale said.
"He told me that hospice needs a new car park - and it will get a new car park."
Labor Party comrade and friend Robert Schwarten delivered the eulogy as pictures from Mr Livingstone's colourful 67 years flashed by on the big screen.
Mr Schwarten said it was Mr Livingstone's grounding as a working man that set him up to be a voice of the people.
Mr Livingstone left school at 14 to work for a grocery store.
In the late 60s he landed a job as a labourer at the Amberley RAAF base.
In 1970, he started work at the Swanbank power station, where he became a crane driver and passionate union representative.
He married wife Cheryl in October, 1972 and the couple became proud parents to Karen and Graham.
"I've lost a great mate," Mr Schwarten said.
"He was someone you could turn to at any time; someone whose handshake meant it all and someone that you could enjoy a drink and a laugh with.
"And I can still hear his voice."
Even as a local politician in the mid-80s, Mr Livingstone kept his job at the power station - at least until he was made redundant.
He and Cheryl bought and operated two delis, which was how he earned the nickname.
Deli Don was elected as the Labor Member for Ipswich West in 1989.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, paid tribute to Mr Livingstone's numerical nous.
"He knew the dollars he needed for his electorate and how to get them," Mr Neumann said.
"He knew the number of votes in every election in Ipswich West, how they were going to vote and why."
Long-time friend Peter Johnstone said Mr Livingstone was well-known for his love of spare ribs, chocolates, beer, scotch and rum.
"Don's mini-bar made a famous revival at hospice," Mr Johnstone said.
"He was courageous throughout his final battle and in the end he died the way he wanted - in his sleep."
Mr Livingstone is survived by wife Cheryl, his children Karen and Graham, and three grandchildren.
His coffin was carried out of the function centre, with Piper Joe McGhee leading the way as the hearse left the venue, bound for Warrill Park Cemetery.