Toowoomba COVID-19 victim remembered as 'gentle giant'


DES Williams has been remembered by his family as a "loving, caring gentle giant of a man".

The 85-year-old died in the Toowoomba Hospital yesterday morning after contracting COVID-19 on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

Des Williams.
Des Williams. Contributed

His wife Bev Williams was also on the ship, their 11th cruise together in their 23 years of marriage.

Stepson Craig Blackburn said Des was a very religious man and served as a reverend in the Uniting Church.

"He was a loving family man, who loved his plants and his church … and his cream buns," Mr Blackburn said.

"He loved spending time in his garden and growing succulents.

"He was a minister (in the Uniting Church) who went out in the four wheel drive for Frontier Services, as the padre of the Burke and Wills Patrol."

"He did that for about 10 years before he retired."



Mr Blackburn said while Des might have been 85, he acted like a 70 year old.

"You wouldn't pick him as 85, as he was very healthy," Mr Blackburn said.

"He had a lot of life left in him."

Jacqui Blackburn, Craig's wife, said Des had a strong spirit.

"He had a double knee reconstruction a couple of years ago and came out with no pain whatsoever," she said.

"He recovered like a champion. Now if that doesn't show how strong he was, I don't know what does.

"This horrible virus got the better of him."

Mrs Blackburn said Des would be missed terribly by the whole family.

"Our lives are so much better for having you in them," she said.

"Fly high with the angels.

Des is survived by his wife Bev, two children, three stepchildren and nine grandkids.

"He loved everyone so much," Mr Blackburn said.

Condolences for Mr Williams' family have come from leaders all over Queensland, including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Health Minister Steven Miles, Groom MP John McVeigh and Mayor Paul Antonio. 

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