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Cliff "Slim" Summerfield

- Passed away 2009.

The article below was published in the Margaret River Mail (Western Australia) on the occasion of Cliff’s  60th Anniversary.

60 Years of Love

Locals Cliff and Ivy Summerfield celebrated 60 years of marriage this week with a family lunch on Sunday, April 10.

Mr Summerfield was born on May 26, 1920 at Busselton hospital.  His family lived at Ellis Creek where his mother ran a boarding house and his father was a mill worker.  His family later moved to Jarrahwood, and when Cliff was six they moved to east Witchcliffe.  When he was 14 years old he left school to work locally as a farmhand.

Mrs Summerfield was born in Kalgoorlie and spent her high school years in Albany.  She undertook teacher training in Perth and taught in single teacher schools in Wishbone, Denmark and near Gnowangarup.

During World War II, Mr Summerfield joined the Air Force and was sent to North Africa from 1941 to 1943 in 3 Squadron.  Sixty-two years later he is still an active member of the 3 Squadron Association and participates in ANZAC Day marches.

The couple met at a local dance in Kalgoorlie in 1944 where Mr Summerfield was an aircraft fitter and Mrs Summerfield was teaching.  They became engaged later in 1944 and wedding plans sped up when Mr Summerfield was suddenly given two days' leave before being sent to Mt Gambier, South Australia.

Two days later, on April 10, 1945, the wedding took place at Forest Park Methodist Church, which is now a restaurant in Mt Lawley.

After a brief honeymoon, Mr Summerfield was sent to Mt Gambier for six months before he was discharged from the Air Force, moving to Witchcliffe to begin farming on his new property.

While his wife taught in Inglewood, Perth, Mr Summerfield lived on the farm making the group settlement weatherboard house liveable and getting the farm up and running.  They raised their three children, John, Garth and Gaye in this home.  Mr Summerfield initially had a small dairy herd which he milked by hand.

While their sons were small Mrs Summerfield taught at the Forest Grove primary school.  She returned to full time primary teaching at Margaret River in 1967 for 16 years before she retired.

The couple have eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

They have become stalwarts of the local community, involved in the Orchid Society, Probus and the Liberal Party and have travelled in their camper vans up north and around Australia many times.  Mr Summerfield also accompanied his wife on annual trips as part of Retired Educator Volunteers for Isolated Students, and worked alongside station hands doing mustering and station repairs.

Mrs Summerfield has also been involved in the Red Cross, the Country Womens' Association, the Margaret River Choral Society for 17 years as their pianist, the local historical society, and was an occasional organist at the Witchcliffe Congregational Church.  After her children left home she joined Moondyne Arts and Crafts and studied German. 

Mr Summerfield was a volunteer bushfire brigade member for 47 years and holds the national medal with bars and the meritorious service award.  He has also been a member of Sea Search and Rescue.

Until he turned 79 years old, he was an active member of the Margaret River Tennis Club and has held the Western Australian record for landing the largest Snook (pike fish).

He recently developed a keen interest in growing large pumpkins after a lifetime as a keen flower- and vegetable-gardener.  At an annual event in Dwellingup he came second for the largest pumpkin in Australia.

  Margaret River Mail 13/04/2005

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