VALE: Remembering Lockyer’s ‘granddad farmer’
JUST days before he died, Neville Manteufel climbed construction site scaffolding at Tamborine Mountain, looked down to his sons and yelled “I’ve never been this close to heaven before”.
On the Monday morning during breakfast, Neville suffered a heart attack, which would reunite him with his wife, June, in heaven, aged 81.
The Blenheim farmer was remembered by friends and family at his funeral last week, where two of his grandsons, Anthony and Brendan, told the story of Neville’s passion for farming.
Neville wasn’t an academic, but he could raise cattle, grow crops, ride a horse and work farm machinery.
Many knew he was destined for a life on the land when his favourite subject at Blenheim State School was lunch.
Brendan retold the story how school scarred his father for life.
“He had heard from the older boys in school if you put bicarbonate of soda, warm water and vinegar in a bottle with a cork in it, the cork would shoot out vigorously,” Brendan said.
“When Neville tried out this experiment at home with a bottle and screw cap, the results were, well, a shattered bottle and a future scar on his face.”
Neville, born at Laidley Hospital on February 14, 1938, was raised on the family farm at Blenheim.
His family described him as a man of few words, but a man of much love.
He left school at 13 to work on the family farm, but it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of the neighbour’s daughter.
Brendan said Neville’s siblings recalled Neville often driving one of the family vehicles down the dividing fence every afternoon so he could wave at the neighbour’s daughter.
“After a few returned waves, June from the other side of Jim’s Road, agreed to go on a date,” Brendan said.
“She just didn’t expect it to be in the four-tonne Chev truck.”
About 1959, Neville was given the opportunity to further his farm work on the Darling Downs, where he started working on grain farms.
June and Neville married on July 8, 1961 at the Laidley Lutheran Church, and had three sons – Mark, Ross and Craig.
Anthony recalled a story from Neville’s first year of marriage. Neville and June recalled the story where a mini tornado blew the roof off their new home.
“Neville would tell of a container of flour that was on the kitchen bench, which was picked up in the storm and somehow found in their bedroom – with the lid still on,” Brendan said.
Besides farming and country music, one of Neville’s greatest passions was car racing.
He had cherished a number of Holdens throughout the years.
When working on a farm in Dalby, he met racing mate Kevin Drew, who dabbled in local speed way events.
Kevin raced a pink Holden Torana XU1, and Neville and the family began to follow speedway events across the Darling Downs.
His passion for motorsports continues today through his son Mark and his grandsons Jamie and Jayden – who all took up street racing.
Not only did the family follow in Neville’s car racing footsteps, but they also continued his farming passions.
Neville’s grandchildren would call him “grandad farmer”, and often go for rides on the four-wheeler or tractor to see the cattle, check fences and water levels in dams.
He may have been a man of few words, but Neville would crack a joke or two.
When Ross’ future wife first visited the farm, she noticed the numbered ear tags on the cattle.
“She asked Neville, did any of them have any names, to which he replied grinning ‘yes, lunch’,” Anthony said.
Neville and June went to church every Sunday and loved being involved in the community.
“Neville would man the teapot at church events as this gave him the opportunity to hear all the community chat,” Anthony said.
“He was never big on talking, but he loved knowing what was going on.”
Six months prior to his heart attack, Neville said goodbye to his wife June.
With friends and family continuously checking in on him, Neville learned to cook and care for himself, but still worked the farm.
His original Blenheim family farm that wraps the Sandy Creek bank continues today, operated by his third son Craig and daughter-in-law Cathy.
His legacy will continue through his sons Mark, Ross and Craig, daughters-in-law Meryl, Cathy and Cathy, along with grandchildren Anthony, Jamie, Brendan Jerrod, Shannon, Caitlyn and Jayden, and great-grandchildren Ava, Eli and Noni.