EX WORS Pieter Frans Oetelmans - R93555
Remembered  20/2/46 - 24/2/03

I was approached by China with a request that they would like place an article in the Annual Newsletter. ďMateshipĒ with a dedication to my partner in life and love, Pieter Frans Oetelmans, a celebration of his life. 

Putting words to paper is always difficult and trying to find the right words to convey, express oneís love and his joy of life I knew was not going to be an easy exercise, so please bear with me. 

Pieter Frans Oetelmans was born to Pieter Marinus Frans and Thelma Dorothy Jean Oetelmans at Subiaco 57 years ago although his handsome youthful looks and young at heart spirit would suggest 47 years ago. (Donít tell her my age, girls). So was his youthful outlook on life. 

Pieter was the first born child of Thelma and Pieter, and only brother to sisters Karen (whom he affectionately called Karencha) and Marilyn. Big brother Pieter quickly developed a protective role to his sisters early on. Pieter could always be relied upon to ensure vigilant maintenance of his younger sisters virtues. In particular during his time as a JR whereby, for example, Pieter would be in the company of other JRís attending the theatre but not being permitted to fraternise with the general public (which often included Pieterís sisters). Pieterís sisters Karencha and Marilyn, as sisters are apt to do, would call from across the aisle Pieter! Pieter! and wave frantically. Of course their cries and waves attracted the attention of the other JRís who would want to know who the Ďgood sortsí were thus prompting JR Oetelmans to issue a warning to leave his sisters alone.

Pieter loved the sea and Pieter loved the Navy. Pieter enjoyed many years as a sailor traveling the world. The deep and abiding friendships forged during those years of training and serving his country including the off-duty playing with his fellow sailors remained constant and sustained. Only those individuals fortunate enough to be deemed worthy of Pieterís friendship experienced the depth of Pieterís loyalty and caring. Conversely, if Pieter did not form a bond with you you certainly knew it. 

Those of us whom may have expressed an opposing point of view to Pieterís would know Pieter enjoyed a good debate and you better be prepared to back up that opinion of yours with fact especially during political discussions. Pieterís sister Maralyn was thrilled when Pieter telephoned from Seattle on her birthday. Marilyn soon realised the call was not birthday wishes from big brother Pieter in the States. Pieter was actually calling to find out the results of the NSW State election. Although, birthday wishes sheepishly followed. 

When I first met Pieter in 1976, was when we were both stationed at HMAS Harman, through work colleagues, Pieter had just recently been promoted to Petty Officer and was still wearing his hat, I said he always left his hat on to impress me. But, who can resist a man in uniform and we were married five years later starting our grand adventure in USA. 

As I said to Pieter he was the one man who drove me crazy and the only man I wanted to drive me crazy. 

He would frequently remind me that he taught me the finer things in life, good food, wine and music. I on the other hand said that I made him raise his standards. Pieter was known to enjoy the odd flutter, if you could call a large bet a flutter. The racing fraternity at the Belmont racetrack knew Pieter and I, by name in fact. You can still see the advertising poster at Belmont that shows Pieter in fine form enjoying a day at the races. 

Pieterís original approach to placing bets was no flutter though, a theory developed by him in Canberra and code-named Pieterís Scientific Racing Theory produced many big wins. In fact, his winnings allowed for a holiday in Tahiti and many enjoyable fine wines and dinners. 

Many of us will remember Pieter in his final months as he reminded us that: 

Life is short, do all those things you want to do and make no excuses not to. 

Pieter, may the waters be calm, the sky blue and the wind gentle to take you on your final journey. 

And, let the red age a bit longer before we join you. 

Silent thoughts, a secret tear, keep your memory ever dear. 

Judy Oetelmans

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