TWO men just starting out in life were yesterday farewelled in separate celebrations which focussed on their lives and not their passing.
Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins were each laid to rest in ceremonies around the region, Mr Brownlee at a service in Ballarat and Mr Howkins at a memorial in Broomfield.
More than 650 mourners packed into the Mercure Convention Centre to say goodbye to the “King of the Jungle”, 20-year-old ‘Jacky Boy’ Brownlee who died in hospital the day after being rescued from a collapsed trench he was working in at Delacombe.
The ceremony spoke of the life of a man described as “socially charismatic” and “filled with life and laughter” and someone who had a deep love of the Carlton Football Club.
And his funeral reflected this with family and friends peppering their speeches with jokes and anecdotes about a man that was the life of the party.
Mr Brownlee’s mother Janine relayed stories of her youngest son.
“You could never watch a funny video with `Jacko’ because he would laugh out loud, you would end up laughing at him, he was so loud with that infectious laugh of his,” she said.
“He had such a soft side to him, he loved his family, he was so protective, but on same side he was a frustrating little bugger... but he’d look at your with his big bloody brown eyes and all would be forgiven.”
Mr Brownlee had a navy coffin with the Blues emblem adorning the side. Friend Kelly Dubberley said Jack had got the last laugh on him.
“Me and Jack would take it out on each other, because he loved Carlton and I was North Melbourne. I reckon he’ll be laughing right now because he’s pulled a bigger crowd here than half the games I go to,” Mr Dubberley said.
Mr Dubberley implored those in the room to live everyday as if it was the last and to enjoy life the way `Jacky Boy’ had.
At Broomfield, family and friends celebrated the life of a father of two, Charlie Howkins who died at the site of the tragic trench collapse on March 20.
Mourners were asked to wear colour to the memorial where a garden was planted in his honour.