Ronald James Bascombe, better known as Ron (or Ronnie in his earlier years) was born at the Streaky Bay Hospital on 14th August 1938. He was the eldest child of James Herbert and Jennie Bascombe, and much-loved older brother to Maureen, Denise, and Brian.
Ellen Bascombe, Ron’s wife, compiled a splendid history of the first hundred years of our St. Canute’s Church here in Streaky Bay. It tells the unfolding story of the journey in faith of individuals and families who take seriously the invitation of Jesus to centre their lives on His Gospel of love, service and sacrifice.
Ron’s faith journey began in St. Canute’s Church when his parents brought him here to be baptised. The Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation followed. On 9th April 1969 Ron and Ellen sealed their love for each other when they exchanged their vows in the Sacrament of Marriage. On Sunday 20th November 2022, at the end of a long and courageous battle with cancer, the final chapter in Ron’s faith journey ended. Ron died just before 9.00a.m., at the very time the Streaky Bay Parish Family was present here in this Church, praying for Ron and Ellen and the family.
The family farmed at Petina, about 40 kms northeast of Streaky Bay, between Haslam and Wirrulla. Dad and his siblings travelled by bus to attend school at Haslam. From his earliest days, Dad developed a strong work ethic, and the importance of family – values that we are grateful that he and Mum, instilled in each of us.
Auntie Maureen says, “it was quite a sheltered life, where you didn’t really go anywhere” as it was in those days, socialising mainly with the neighbours and the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. The family were members of the Petina Catholic Church Community where they attended Mass regularly.
Dad spent the early years of his working life as a shearer. He shore around the district, as well as around South Australia, from up in the station country, to the South East and over to the Yorke Peninsula. Dad always made friends easily and he made several lifelong friends during this time, who he kept in regular contact with, right up until his final days.
In 1966, Dad took on the AMPOL fuel agency in Streaky Bay, which he did for 24 years. At this time, he also had a couple of trucks that he used to cart the fuel up from Port Lincoln and deliver around the district to local farmers, as well as carting grain and bagged super.
In 1967 Dad attended a transport meeting in Port Lincoln and asked Mum to be his partner to the dinner that evening. This was their first date and from there, their relationship blossomed.
Four children followed – Delores born in 1970, Jane in 1972, Jacinta in 1977 and Brenton in 1978.
Dad and Mum wanted to ensure that we had a good education and got good jobs. We all went to boarding school.
Dad’s trucking business continued to grow. Dad and Mum traded as RJ and ET Bascombe, Livestock and General Carriers, and they were a true partnership. Dad worked long hours away from home, carting stock throughout South Australia and interstate, grain all over the Eyre Peninsula, and tuna to Port Lincoln, knowing that Mum was home looking after us kids, answering the phone and doing the bookwork for the business.
Dad was great at giving advice, especially when you didn’t want it…. He was usually right!!
He adored his grandchildren and was very proud of them all. He loved to be involved when the older ones were buying their cars, offering his advice and opinion on the different ones they were looking at. He was always interested in their lives and actively followed all their sporting pursuits.
Dad enjoyed a great rapport with his nieces and nephews. He was always interested in what everyone was doing.
Dad fought hard in his final years, he had a stroke on his 78th birthday and battled cancer these last few years. What we admired most about him through this time was his strength and courage to battle on.
Dad and Mum faced everything in life together and Dad’s illness was no different. Mum, you did an amazing job looking after Dad these last few years.
In our Catholic tradition Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, is the patron saint of the dying. Catholic people are encouraged to pray to St. Joseph for a happy death. This was Ellen’s fervent and constant prayer for Ron. In the last weeks of his earthly life Ron knew he was dying. When his doctor shared this news with Ron and the family he wasn’t angry or bitter. He was brave and resilient in the face of death. Ron knew that all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness … that There are many rooms in my Father’s house and that Jesus had gone to prepare a place for him, so that he might be present and at peace in heaven for all eternity.
Jesus granted Ron some extraordinary graces during those last five weeks of his earthly life. His heart was untroubled. His trust in God grew and solidified. He had no fear of dying and he was pain free. The doctors, nurses, carers and volunteers at Mary Potter Hospice cared for Ron, Ellen and all the family reverently and with great compassion.
Ron was surrounded by the love, prayers, joy and laughter of Ellen, Delores, Jane, Jacinta, Brenton, their spouses and Ron and Ellen’s nine grandchildren. By any measure you were heroic. You will never forget or regret this precious time spent with your husband, dad and grandpa … so many prayers offered, exchanges of love, stories told, memories recounted and smiles shared.
The other extraordinary graces Ron received during these last weeks of his earthly life were spiritual ones. Most days he was nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Fr. Ben Hensley OP and Fr. Matthew Newman were regular visitors. Ron received the Anointing of the Sick on a number of occasions. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Rosary and the Church’s Prayers for the Dying were prayed at his bedside on a continuous basis. Ron joined in the responses. The prayers and sacramental graces gave Ron renewed strength, peace, consolation and a deep acceptance of what lay ahead as he prepared in the best way to meet our Lord.
Ellen’s prayer were answered. Ron certainly received the grace of a happy death we pray to St. Joseph for. May Christ who Ron loved so much and served so faithfully forgive his sins and welcome him into the fullness of His kingdom of light, happiness and peace.