Surf Life Saving NSW is saddened to hear of the recent passing of Moruya Life Member and Far South Coast stalwart Ron Chesher OAM after a long illness.
He was 95.
Ron is remembered not only for his immense contribution to the Surf Life Saving movement but his dedication to his local community over many years that made him a popular figure in the idyllic seaside town of Moruya.
Described as a lifesaver’s lifesaver, Ron’s journey in the organisation that became a true passion needs to be viewed in the context of the world he came of age in.
As a young man he signed up to do his duty in the Second World War seeing action in New Guinea and returning to become an active member of the RSL and in Rotary always concerned about the welfare of his fellow soldiers.
Moruya Surf Club like many other clubs did not have the numbers to sustain itself with country focused on the war effort.
In 1942 the flags were lowered, and they would not be raised again until 1946 with a young Chesher playing a pivotal role in the successful reformation of the club and taking on the role of President in 1951.
He obtained his Bronze Medallion in the 1947/48 season and his Instructors Certificate the following season.
In his two decades as President, Ron would be a driving force for Moruya and a strong advocate for the Far South Coast in general going on to serve as Branch President.
At a club level he would serve on many committees, coached the R&R and March Past team, and involved in a major rescue that utilised a surf boat.
Ron was a rare breed in that he would be involved in only one club throughout his life; Moruya DNA ran through his veins.
Throughout his time in Surf Life Saving he would acquire Life Membership at every level.
In 1959 his beloved club would bestow that honour on him. In 1967 the Branch would follow suit while in 1972 the State Centre (Surf Life Saving NSW) would also elevate the popular lifesaver to that exalted status.
In 2016 the set was complete as he became a Life Member for Surf Life Saving Australia.
Outside of the movement he and his family were involved in retail and he is credited for opening the first supermarket in town.
For his services to the community and for his efforts in Surf Life Saving he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal appropriately during his country’s Bicentenary celebrations.
“Ron was a mentor of men and was determined to give everyone access to the opportunities he himself had,” said long-time friend Bert Hunt who filled Ron’s considerable boots as President from 1974.
Hunt who first crossed paths with Chesher in 1963 said the latter’s community spirit and vision marked him out even then.
“He had a wonderful feel for what a lifesaver should be, and I think the skills I developed over the years are a testament to his guidance.
“What impressed me most was his willingness to share his advice and I could always count on him for an opinion.
“Even in his later years Ron cared deeply about the future of Surf Life Saving. It was his great passion and he was certainly aware of all the developments in technology,” said Mr Hunt.
“He wasn’t one of those who believed everything was better in his day and the advancement in rescue equipment genuinely excited him.
“He has left a lasting legacy and will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” he concluded.
Surf Life Saving NSW would like to extend its condolences to Ron’s family including wife Heather and his children.
Throughout his life Ron’s love of the ocean and of Surf Life Saving was clear, and as a man who didn’t let his war experiences define him, and arguably his greatest legacy was his spirit of generosity and dedication to his hometown.
It’s a fitting legacy for a man who believed passionately in community.
Vale Ron Chesher OAM
For a life well lived.
A funeral service for Ron Chesher OAM will be held at 11am on Friday 26 October 2018 at St John’s Church, Moruya
Thursday 18 October 2018