It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of Highmoor Club President, Jeff Mayes, at age 70.

Those of us who had the pleasure, or even privilege, of getting to work or socialise with Jeff on a regular basis came to realise that this guy was a great bloke, an exemplary citizen with a heart of gold. The term ‘paragon of propriety’ is not applicable to many people, but I think it does apply to Jeff. He was always such a stickler for doing the well-considered responsible thing.

Jeff was never one for seeking the limelight, always unassuming. He was a member of Highmoor for approximately 13 years and he took on key roles of club secretary for six years and as president over the last five years and he often spoke of the value and importance of volunteers in the community. He loved his tennis and the sense of community within the club.

Even as Highmoor Tennis Club president, he would always understate his role, and he was never one to ask others to step in for him to do the work; he was hands-on, always very interested in the maintenance of the Highmoor facility – initiating and overseeing the implementation of important improvements to things such as sprinkler systems, court maintenance, fence screening and court hosing systems. He was often seen quietly and inconspicuously raking up leaves from the tennis courts before tennis on Tuesdays or Saturdays.

Jeff was the ideal clubman, always offering to help in any working bee, whether it be as a cook at the annual Bunnings sausage sizzle tennis club fund-raiser or as a key contributor to the Highmoor lights and fencing project in 2014 or the clubhouse kitchen renovation in 2010 and clubhouse refurbishment. Jeff patrolled the Highmoor facility as though it was his own second back yard. He particularly loved the camaraderie of the Tuesday morning mens group and was very actively involved in the Saturday afternoon organised social tennis, where, apart from mixing it with the best of us social tennis men, he would be only too happy to make up a four in a mixed set or attend to a maintenance issue such as a leaking court hose. He was always very fair to all. Everyone at the club liked and respected Jeff.

Jeff was a good hitter on the tennis court and all of us Tuesday and Saturday players enjoyed playing sets of tennis with or against Jeff. He was known to hit a good cross-court ground stroke with a bit on it and was no stranger to making deft interceptions at the net to pat the ball out of reach of the opposition.

Ironically, Jeff was one of the fittest of the older folk at Highmoor – a keen walker (10,000 steps a day was nothing for him) and he’d dropped his weight from 90 to 78kg, with no known health issues and, it seemed nothing more of a health ailment than the odd recurring calf issues that put him out of action for a few weeks here and there. He ate according to a structured diet and was an active member of the local bush walking club, another one of his passions.

It was a big surprise to all of us when we heard that Jeff had died. He deserved to live a longer life than he did. Highmoor will be so much the poorer for Jeff’s passing. We’ll all miss Jeff.

by Maurice Pattison