Well-known Brunswick Valley local Cliff Jones is being mourned by family and friends after his sudden death on Tuesday when his ride-on mower rolled into a dam at Ocean Shores Country Club.
Mr Jones was mowing at a home in Coonawarra Street adjacent to the club’s golf course when the half-tonne mower rolled into the dam, pinning him down.
Police and WorkCover are still investigating the accident and the cause of death is still unclear.
Workmates from the Mullumbimby Ex-Servicemen’s Club said Mr Jones had just celebrated his 66th birthday the day before the tragic accident.
The barman and waiter had worked at the club for almost 42 years and was well regarded by staff and patrons alike.
Mr Jones, a father and grandfather, also operated his own mowing and home-maintenance business.
‘He was part of the bricks, mortar and fabric of the building,’ club manager Luke Barnes told Echonetdaily.
‘There was always an expectation when you came to the club that he’d be here. People who hadn’t been to the club for a while would ask if Cliff was still working here. He was what you’d call part of the corporate memory of the club.
‘He turned 66 on Monday and we were joking with him about working so hard when he’d already achieved so much. Twenty-four hours after that conversation he was gone.’
Mr Barnes said staff became concerned when Mr Jones didn’t show up for his shift on Tuesday afternoon.
‘That was unprecedented, so we gave it half an hour in case he’d read the roster wrong before we rang around. His partner then contacted police and let them know,’ he said.
Police then began a search. On Wednesday morning the Westpac Life Saver rescue helicopter conducted an aerial search of the area before Mr Jones’s body was found around 10.30am.
A post-mortem examination is being conducted but police are not treating the death as suspicious.
Details of his funeral service are yet to be released.