Geoffrey Robert Wilson was a man of many talents, with three main passions: family, football and firearms. He is remembered as ‘a good man, who lived a good life, and did good things’.
Born at Bethesda Hospital, Richmond, in 1940, Geoff went to school at Canterbury Primary and Box Hill Boys’ Tech before leaving at age 15 for a signwriting apprenticeship — a trade that served him all his working life.
He was a talented footballer, and played 31 games for Hawthorn Football Club, kicking 29 goals.
Geoff married the love of his life, Frances, in December 1960 and they moved to Old Dookie Rd in Shepparton in 1965.
That two-and-a-half bedroom home housed two adults, seven kids, three dogs, a cat, a cockatoo – plus a vast collection of militaria tucked away in the shed.
Geoff began collecting military objects at age 14, he told News journalist John Lewis in 2020.
Over the course of his life he amassed an astounding catalogue of badges, medals, helmets, berets, jackets, goggles, bandoliers, gas masks, boots, flags, a parachute, model tanks and planes, posters, framed photos and firearms.
Some of his favourite treasures included an American Army World War II jeep, which he regularly drove, and an American-made Winchester musket from 1873.
Geoff spent six years in the Army Reserve in Shepparton with the 22nd Battalion RVR in the 1960s and 70s.
Those who loved him described him as funny, courageous, compassionate, magnanimous, liberal and companionable.
An active community member, Geoff was a founding member of the Goulburn Runners’ Club in 1979 and he joined the Shepparton Kiwanis Sunrisers in 1995.
He was involved with the Northern Victorian Arms Collectors Guild, the National Servicemen’s Association and Shepparton RSL Sub-Branch.
Geoff passed away peacefully at home as the sun rose on January 12, 2022, in the care of his children.
His life was celebrated on January 21 at Shepparton Swans Football Club — beside a field he knew intimately – and concluded with an RSL service.
He was interred at Jamieson Cemetery the following day.
His family remembers him as a wonderful father to Lee, Tanya, Steele-Michael (dec), Mitchell, Jai-Maree, Blair, Steele and Kyle, and adored Pappy of 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
The Wilsons extend heartfelt thanks to GV Hospice Care and prostate nurses for the outstanding care provided to Geoff.
Rosa Ritchie, Shepparton News