In memory of a great friend and trade unionist

September 13, 2013

James Trevor Tannock (1945-2013) Retired Deputy National Secretary Maritime Union of Australia

James Trevor Tannock (1945-2013)
Retired Deputy National Secretary
Maritime Union of Australia

I’m deeply saddened to report that Jim Tannock, retired Deputy National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, passed away in the early hours of 13th September at his home on the Gold Coast in the company of his wife Vicki. He was greatly loved by, and loved his family, including Vicki, his constant companion during the illness, who in recent months had stopped work completely to be his full time carer. The union and the ITF extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the family, including his children, Nikki, Brett and Lance, his first wife, Jenny, his brother, Larry and his sister, Marce, and his grandchildren, Jaiden, Shanae, Bradley and Matthew and his niece, Chantelle.

Jim had been diagnosed with a number of cancers and, after a long, determined and courageous battle, succumbed to the complications from those cancers. He had made a decision to be very active right up to his death, including in the discharge of his responsibilities as director of Maritime Super and as director of the Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union. He was in constant contact with myself and Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union Chair and Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman to ensure that the business of both the credit union and Maritime Super continued with “the Tannock Touch” of protecting members’ interests. In the last few weeks he would participate by dialling in by telephone. The management, directors and staff of both organisations have also asked me to relay its sympathies and condolences to Jim’s family.

In recent months, Jimmy remained at his home and welcomed a constant stream of visitors – his many friends, family and comrades both from Australia and overseas, including myself, Gail and my family, and many other officials and members of the Maritime Union of Australia. All will attest to his ongoing great good humour, dignified and calm acceptance of his illness, and ongoing determination and optimism that things would turn out OK one way or another. Jimmy remained quietly realistic about the severity of his condition, however. In his inimitable style, he meticulously planned his funeral in consultation with a number of officials of the union and friends, particularly long-time friend and comrade Deputy Victorian Secretary Dave Schleibs on behalf of the Victorian Branch. The level of detail of his plan for the funeral reflected Jim’s great love of life and our union, his many, varied interests and his active, pervasive and colourful social life. Dave is travelling to meet with Jim’s family to finalise arrangements.

Jim had indicated to myself, Dave and other National Councillors of his willingness to have a funeral service that would allow the participation of his family, many friends and comrades in both Australia and internationally. Jim was a true internationalist who worked tirelessly while an MUA official in senior roles of the ITF Seafarers and Dockworkers sections. More recently, his union work expanded into the Tas Bull Fund and APHEDA, the union aid abroad organisation, which builds support and infrastructure in many working communities in Africa and the developing world.

Jim was a long-term loyal and committed unionist who was not only held in great affection, respect and admiration by the members, retired members, staff and officers of the MUA but he also had a wide and extended network of friends and comrades in the trade union movement in Australia and internationally. His consistent service to our union and labour movement, including our ideals and principles of justice, fairness, equality, peace and freedom, continued right up to his death. He will be greatly missed, although we are reassured that his life’s work and commitment will be reflected in safer, more decent and secure lives for the working men and women he was dedicated and committed to.

The funeral service will take place at St Joseph’s Church in Port Melbourne followed by a function at the Victorian branch building of the MUA at 46-54 Ireland Street, West Melbourne. Sufficient time will be given to allow mourners to be able to participate. It is expected the funeral will take place early in the week beginning 23rd September.

Jim was insistent his funeral be open to anybody who wished to attend, which came as no surprise given his great generosity and scope of spirit. Jim lived his life under the full understanding that only good people share. We would like to thank the family for giving us this opportunity to celebrate and reflect on his life and many achievements in this way.

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