Glen Ivan Rodert - Eulogy

Copy of Eulogy given at the funeral of Glen Rodert as compiled by Reg Butler, December 2011 and extracted from his computer working files.

Glen Ivan Rodert was one of the last babies to be born in the Hahndorf Private Hospital.   Sadly, his highly practical and useful life came to an end on 2 December 2011.   The following account of Glen’s achievements is based on the eulogy which his family prepared for his widely attended public funeral which followed at the Bordertown Trinity Lutheran Church.

Glen Ivan Rodert was born on 20 June 1939 in the Hahndorf Private Hospital, the younger son of Edwin Julius Rodert & Hulda Marie nee Thiele.   Perhaps the choice of godparents for his baptism on 30 July 1939 at St Paul’s Lutheran Church Hahndorf helped shape two of Glen’s life-long passions – farming and mechanics.   Sponsors were three members of his grandmother Rodert’s farming Braendler family – Heinrich Wuttke, Ben Braendler and Mrs Glen Faehrmann nee Vera Braendler, and Mrs Reinhold Kaesler nee Clara Liebelt, Hulda Rodert’s cousin, who had married into the well-known Hahndorf engineering family of Kaesler Brothers.

The Rodert family farm off the Echunga-Meadows main road, presided over by grandparents Julius Rodert and Selma nee Braendler, became Glen’s home for most of his life until 1973.   Beginning at a very early age, through two parental generations of many relatives based mostly on the land, Glen became thoroughly grounded in the basic rudiments of mixed farming, concentrating principally on dairying.

Blessed with boundless restless energy, Glen could scarcely wait to finish his formal education at Meadows Primary School and Mount Barker High School at age fourteen, before becoming a farm hand on neighbouring dairying properties.   Armed with a driver’s licence at sixteen, Glen characteristically sought even further life experience by becoming a seasonal hay and grain driver based at Kadina for farmers on Upper Yorke Peninsula.

However, as his grandparents and parents were beginning to find farm work extremely difficult because of advancing years, Glen became convinced that he should take over the family’s Echunga farm work full time.   From 1961, he thought nothing of labouring long hours whatever the weather to bring the property up to adequate production standards and to improve on that whenever possible.

Instinctively, Glen realised that all work and no play was not a sensible course for a successful life.   Impatient with the barriers which the then two-Synod Australian Lutheran Church rivalries threw up, as soon as he could, as a young teenager, Glen joined the Luther League of Hahndorf’s other Lutheran congregation, Saint Michael’s.   His cheery personality and wicked sense of humour soon made him well known and liked at Lutheran young people’s gatherings throughout the Adelaide Hills and beyond.

As a capable farmer in charge of his own acres, Glen cast about confidently for his life partner.   The afore-mentioned Lutheran young people’s activities became the catalyst for him to take up a serious friendship with Mary Thiele, from the nearby Salem Lutheran congregation.   Besides many family links with Hahndorf, the young couple gradually found that they also shared the same life values and capacity for tireless physical work.   Glen and Mary married on 3 November 1962 at Peace Lutheran Church Salem.

In between rearing two boys and a girl, born between 1963 and 1968, the young Glen Roderts managed to maintain their Echunga dairy farm, and look after Glen’s increasingly aged parents.   Glen earned extra income through lucrative hay baling contracts both locally and in the mid-north areas of South Australia.   Even then, Glen also found time to contribute to his community through membership of the Hahndorf Lions Club.

Glen’s hyper-active intelligence fast realised that he would never be able to cement his family’s prosperity from 88 acres near Echunga and another 30 acres for drystock grazing, rented from his Aunt Alwine Thiele, at Friedrichstadt between Echunga and Hahndorf.

A relentless search for a much larger dairy property began south of Mount Gambier and combed northward.   Nothing suitable which included two houses ever came onto the market.   Finally, Glen’s estate agent discovered a two house 492 acre wheat farming property eight kilometres west from Bordertown towards Keith.   The owner, Jock Kennedy, a young bachelor, originally from Langhorne Creek, was disposed to sell, because he had ideas of moving to Esperance in Western Australia, which at that time was attracting large numbers of ambitious land-hungry South Australian farmers.

Glen pounced!  Jock Kennedy was soon bound for Esperance, while the Roderts sold their Echunga holding, packed up their dairy herds and household goods, and made Bordertown their home.   An expensive mechanised modern dairy had to be built and an existing small irrigation system for lucerne was expanded to create extensive year-round pasture for cows.   The daily milking was dispatched by road tanker to Jervois to augment milk supplies for metropolitan Adelaide.

Not surprisingly, Glen moved forward spectacularly again during 1987.   His early experience in the grain industry helped motivate him to sell the cows and diversify his farm into potato growing, particularly the Kennebec variety, and lucerne seed production.   The good fortune the Roderts had when they purchased their farm in 1973 to be handy to road, rail and air transport, was appreciated all the more.

Out in the community, in connection with his livelihood, Glen became Chairman of the local Dairy Farmers Association and also its representative on the South Australian Farmers Federation.  From time to time, he served on a number of Potato Committees.

Along with his family and parents, Glen joined the Bordertown Trinity Lutheran parish, with Glen himself serving on many committees and as Elder until ill health forced him to retire completely from this work.   Besides transferring membership from Hahndorf to the Bordertown Lions Club, Glen also became fascinated with the activities of the Bordertown Restorers Car Club.   He held very strong political views and made it his business to keep up to date with Australian politics and world events.

Gradually, Glen took a passionate interest in formalising his extensive family history knowledge.   Right from birth, family connections had surrounded him, because Dr Theo Auricht, who had brought him into the world, was his great-grandmother Martha Braendler nee Paech’s first cousin.   Regularly, at home, work and at church, Glen mixed extensively with Braendler, Rodert and Thiele relations, whose connections and exploits were made clear to him time and again until this knowledge became automatically ingrained.   All of this background knowledge became vital in forming and maintaining new world-wide family history contacts via email and the internet.

With subtle encouragement, Glen learned to switch off, albeit with considerable noisy enthusiasm.   He loved to perform Slim Dusty songs with Mary at numerous concerts and other local fundraising events, and barracked loudly at countless cricket and football matches.   Even fishing, generally considered a quiet leisure sport, regularly featured non-stop commentary on the comparative progress of everybody’s catch.

Despite the very public nature of so much of Glen’s life, there lay a quiet, thoughtful side which not everyone in the community saw or understood.   This ability became the key to Glen’s successful career.   The disciplined logic which Glen always applied to his private thinking he loved to share with anyone whom he felt would beneflt from talking over their own problems with him in confidence.   Glen knew when to listen quietly and subtly help troubled souls find solutions for their own lives.

This quality, of course, was the secret Glen shared with Mary to keep their partnership strong through nearly fifty years of married life.   Through many changes and trials, they were truly life-long partners in love, friendship and business.   Through this ironstrong union, their family and the wider community benefited immeasurably.  What a legacy to help strengthen the fabric of the Australian nation.

Iron disciplined thought helped Glen face his final illness, involving many treatments and hospital stays, with stoic cheerfulness and lack of self-pity.  He died quietly in the Bordertown Hospital on 2 December 2011, an uncomplaining and positive patient to the very end.