"Live your life for others, be generous, honest and kind."
This is the legacy Frank 'Sid' Ellis left his children, grandchildren and great-grand-children, as written in a poem by his grandson John-Paul Santucci.
The Griffith jewellery pioneer's funeral was held at St Mary's Immaculate Church in Manly on September 3. As a man of great faith, his last hours were spent saying his beloved rosary with his family.
Almost reaching his 100th birthday, the 99-year-old lived life to the fullest, and is best known around Griffith for his dedicated customer service in his jewellery business on Banna Avenue, which he established in 1955.
His son, John Ellis said his momentous decision to leave accounting and set up his own business is now a family legacy.
"Over the years, dad transformed the humble shop he had purchased into the Frank Ellis the Diamond Centre, a Riverina institution at which three generations of Ellis' have worked."
John says his father's favourite stories of the trials of owning a small business was the infamous robbery on 1970.
"If the story reveals anything about Dad, it's the stoic way in which he accepted it. As he said to mum, 'I started with nothing, and I'll start again with nothing'."
Over the years, dad transformed the humble shop he had purchased into the Frank Ellis the Diamond Centre, a Riverina institution at which three generations of Ellis' have worked.John Ellis
Frank always made time to give back to the Griffith community, serving on the hospital board for 28 years, raising money for the church and even timekeeping for the boxing matches at the police boys club.
"The people of Griffith had such respect for Dad, they often went to him for advice, whether it be personal or financial," John said.
Born almost a century ago in 1920, his memoirs focus on the happy times, such as family holidays, rather than the financial struggle which was the reality during the Great Depression.
He remembered selling billycarts of manure or sand to the neighbours for sixpence a load, and selling lilies at the florist in Randwick for one penny each on Saturday mornings.
Frank left school in 1936 and decided to enter legal studies, however accepted a position at the Commonwealth Bank head office branch in Martin Place to contribute to his family financially.
When the war broke out in 1939 he enlisted in the RAAF with a friend, and was placed on the air crew's waiting list due to the shortage of planes.
Tired of waiting, he enlisted on May 13, 1940 in the 2nd AIF, Second First Australian Medium Regiment R.A.A, became sergeant in six weeks and received his first commission after six months at the age of 20.
During his service, his regiment went to Darwin, the Middle East and back to Australia when Japan entered the war.
Returning and recommencing work for the bank, he requested to be posted to the country which John said may have been "inspired by the fond childhood memories of country life in Emmaville".
Posted to work in Gundagai in 1946, he met his future wife Joan, who had been dating the former accountant at the time. This started a romance and marriage lasting 67 years.
"Dad used to joke that he took the accountant's job and his girl," John remembered.
His legacy will live on in his family, summed up by the last paragraph of John-Paul's poem dedicated to Frank:
Now, I don't know what will happen, I've no idea how this all ends,
But what I've learnt from family, I'll share with you my friends.
Live your life for others, be generous, honest and kind,
And when your clock says time is up, you'll know true peace of mind.
Vale, Frank Ellis.
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