Ryan Engel and Jack Greig were inseparable.
They went everywhere together, from fishing along the Bellarine Peninsula until late at night, to going out and having fun. Ryan and Jack were joined at the hip.
So it’s fitting the two, who were tragically killed after their car hit a tree at Soldiers Hill early Friday morning, will be farewelled at a joint funeral.
Ryan and Jack died after the red ute they were in left Nolan Street and hit a tree around 1am Friday.
Since their deaths, the outpouring of grief is helping to comfort both the Engel and Greig families.
“We didn’t know how much the boys were loved,” Ryan’s mother Carol told The Courier on Sunday.
“(Since their deaths) we have been receiving flowers without name cards and messages of support from people we don’t even know. They had such a big network of friends.”
Jack’s mother Mary Gordon described both boys as magnets. “People were instantly drawn to them. They both had the same caring personality, they were both free spirits. Nothing phased them, especially Jack.”
Having similar personalities played a big part in their friendship.
Ryan’s father Guye was proud of both boys, particularly their non-judgmental personalities. “They loved meeting people … they both had beautiful, kind souls. They never judged anyone and they would make friends with everyone.
“They went out a lot and both were always happy. They loved the simple things in life.”
The two lovable larrikins met through mutual friends in 2011 and their similar personalities and interests meant they were instantly mates. They were described by many who knew them as “the twins”.
The 21-year-olds were also fondly known as the “married couple”. Ryan, a roof tiler, was the “bread-winner”, while Jack, who wasn’t working, was “the kept one”.
Ryan, a former St Patrick’s College student, had just finished a roofing apprenticeship with Max Lyons, who was like a second father to him.
Both were keen sportsmen, with Ryan a basketballer with Phoenix and a footballer for Mt Clear and Buninyong clubs, while Jack, a Mt Clear College alumni, had a particularly passion for football and cricket, playing the game with the Golden Point Cricket Club.
But it was their mutual love of fishing which was very important to Ryan and Jack.
“They spent a lot of time at the beach. They loved their fishing and would spend every spare minute at Geelong, or Ocean Grove, or Queenscliff fishing. They would stay all night on the pier … even in the rain,” Ms Gordon said.
Both Ryan and Jack were also known as practical jokers. “Even now, I expect both of them to walk in the door and say ‘gotchya’, this is also just a practical joke … but it’s not,” Jack’s mum said.
While they were similar in many ways, their fashion senses were poles apart.
“Jack was fashion guru. He spent more time in front of the mirror than the girls did,” Ms Gordon said.
“Ryan was the opposite … he loved his dreadlocks and his caps,” Mr Engel said.
Ms Gordon said Jack had a very close bond with his father Scott Greig, who lives in Shepparton. Australian singer Jimmy Barnes is Mr Greig’s idol and he imparted that love of the raspy-voiced singer onto his son.
Jack was also an outdoors person, his mother said, and he preferred to work with his hands than be stuck behind an office desk.
“He loved gardening and was always helping me plant things in the garden. He was hoping to find a job as a landscape gardener,” Ms Gordon said.
Mr Engel believes both boys will be remembered as being best mates and for their infectious laughter.
Ryan is survived by his parents Carol and Guye and his older siblings Stevie and Jay. Jack is survived by his parents Mary Gordon and Scott Greig, and his sisters Rebecca and Jessica Greig.
Details about Ryan and Jack’s joint funeral will appear in The Courier at a later date.
The knock at the door every parent dreads
When Mary Gordon and Carol and Guye Engel heard knocks at their respective doors early Friday morning, all three instantly thought their sons had locked themselves out of their houses.
They had thought their boys, Jack Greig and Ryan Engel, both 21, may have gone late night fishing – nothing unusual for these two mates – and had lost their house keys.
But the knocks at the doors were actually by Victoria Police officers there to deliver a message no parent should hear … your child has been killed in a car accident.
Ryan and Jack were killed when the car they were travelling in hit a tree along Nolan Street, Soldiers Hill, around 1am Friday.
The grief-stricken families believe if there was one message to come out of the deaths of Ryan and Jack it would be take care on the roads.
“Be careful on the roads every single time you get into the car,” said Ryan’s dad.
“Taking an extra few minutes to get to where you are going can save lives.”
This was a message echoed by Jack’s mother, Ms Gordon. “Don’t speed and know the road conditions, because in a split second your life change and it has a ripple effect to everyone in your life.”
While the Engels have not been able to bring themselves to visit the crash scene, Ms Gordon has, and she was moved by the amount of messages and flowers left at the tree by their big circle of friends
“I went to the tree and it was a beautiful sight … even strangers were stopping (to pay their respects),” Ms Gordon said.
“This was the last place they were together.”
Police have launched an investigation into the double fatality, including whether speed, icy conditions and drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash. A report will be prepared for the coroner.