Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Couple 'Epitomised Community': Mayor

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Couple 'Epitomised Community': Mayor

Article excerpt

Byline: Wes Hosking, Herald Sun and Jonathan Reichard, Daily Mercury

TRIBUTES are pouring in from the Isaac and Mackay communities for Joe and Jeanette Baggow, who were tragically killed in a road accident in Victoria's north on their way home from a family celebration.

Joe and Jeanette, 69 and 61 respectively, had left for their Coppabella home early when their SUV seemingly turned into the path of a four-wheel-drive towing a boat at Tongala just after 8am on Saturday.

Mr and Mrs Baggow's niece, Kate Cutts, said the couple left early to beat the traffic.

"We're all a little bit lost and we don't know what to do without them,'' Ms Cutts said. "It's very out of character because Joe was just a careful driver."

The much-loved couple, whose SUV entered the Murray Valley Highway from Scobie Rd, have three children and six grandchildren.

But they took in many others.

"They might have had three kids but they raised probably 33 more," Ms Cutts said. "They were big-hearted people who took everybody and anybody in.

"They lived their lives for everyone else around them and their family."

In 2008, Joe and Jeanette won a citizenship award at the Mackay Australia Day awards ceremony, and the same year they were announced the first dual winners of the Nebo Australia Day Citizen of the Year award.

Nebo mayor at the time Bob Oakes said Australia Day awards honoured those receiving awards for their high level of voluntary contribution to their community.

"These people represent vast numbers of people out there in the community who are doing good things and equally deserving of award which are received with humility," Mr Oakes said.

Tributes flowed online.

"Such genuine people, you will be very missed by many," a loved one wrote.

Isaac region mayor Anne Baker yesterday paid tribute to the community-minded couple.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe and Jeanette's family and friends," Mrs Baker said.

"The community is in shock and mourning the loss of our long-term committed community members. …

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