Trucks rally in memory of man

The funeral for popular tow truck driver Malcolm Brian “Mac” Tong (right) was held at the Laidley Crematorium on Saturday. A procession of tow trucks followed the hearse.
The funeral for popular tow truck driver Malcolm Brian “Mac” Tong (right) was held at the Laidley Crematorium on Saturday. A procession of tow trucks followed the hearse. Rob Williams

A CONVOY of dozens of tow trucks eased its way from Tarampa to the Laidley crematorium at the weekend in honour of a popular figure.

Malcolm Brian “Mac” Tong was sitting listening to the police radio scanner when he died suddenly in his home on November 12, aged 60.

Mac’s devotion and professionalism earned him the respect not only of his fellow towies but also of emergency services workers he spent years working alongside. About 80 friends and family united to say their last goodbyes to Mac at the Laidley Crematorium on Saturday.

Son Scott Tong, 32, said even he was surprised by the level of respect his father had built.

“I knew dad well but I didn’t realise he had this much support in the community,” he said.

“It serves as testament to the man he was; you always knew where you stood with him. A lot of people didn’t agree with him but they always respected him.”

Born in Bedford, England on August 23, 1950, Mac was a keen footballer and played for the local representative teams.

He got out of school by taking up a mechanic’s apprenticeship with Ford where his passion for motor vehicles began.

Mac moved to Australia with his family aged 17, later enlisting with the army and serving overseas.

He eventually left the army and became a truck driver so he could pay off his new home in Brisbane.

Sons Troy, now 34 and Scott were born shortly after.

Mac moved to the Brisbane Valley town of Brightview more than 10 years ago and started working as a tow truck driver for Lehmann Motors.

Mac’s long-time boss, Lehmann Motors owner, Somerset Region mayor Graeme Lehmann was grieving his sudden death.

Cr Lehmann said Saturday’s procession was a fitting tribute and he thanked everybody involved in the memorial service.

“He always spoke his mind but he wasn’t the type of bloke to hold a grudge; people knew where he was coming from,” he said.

Ipswich police officer Sergeant John Holdcroft said he often worked with Mac at car crashes.

“He was very good at his job, very professional and by the book,” Sgt Holdcroft said.

“I got to know him as a loyal friend and a really good bloke.

“You knew you could call him at any hour and he would come out.”

In his later years, Mac started a new life with partner Dina.

In his eulogy, he was described as a devoted and adored grandfather, fondly known as “Grumpy”.

“His cheeky antics, quick-witted sense of humour and pull-no- punches view on life made him one of a kind,” the eulogy read.

“His passing has left a hole in the hearts of many and he will be missed each and every day.”

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