Don and Heather Johansen. Photo: Contributed
Don and Heather Johansen. Photo: Contributed

Farewell to Bogangar's Don Johansen

DON JOHANSEN, who died on December 4 last year, will be remembered as a man who made a huge impact on the Bogangar community.

Don was born in Murwillumbah Hospital, son to Ettie and Jim Johansen and lived at Pottsville for the first years of his life.

Don started up the Bogangar store and post office which he ran on Tweed Coast Rd for 45 years.

He married Heather Foyster on December 30, 1950.

The couple had three children: Neil, Ian and Margot.

Daughter Margot Ricketts said Don had left a significant footprint on the community not just through the store but also his involvement in various local groups.

She said in recent times, Don became well-known for gazing out towards Cabarita Beach from near the apartment where his widow Heather still lives.

The family would now try to get the patch of land named Johansen's Reserve.

"I know many of the locals will be in support of it," Margot said.

She said a news publication had dubbed her Dad the "mayor of Bogangar".

"He was very community minded. "

Heather Johansen said her husband was dedicated to the shop, delivering milk, smallgoods, bananas and newspapers for many years.

"He did the paper run for 16 years," Mrs Johansen said.

"He never missed a day or a doorstep."

Don was sports-minded, having been a founding member of the local bowls, Lions and surf clubs.

Don buried the Cabarita Bowls Club time capsule at their 50th anniversary.

He also enjoyed playing practical jokes on the community.

"One April fools' day, he told everyone a whale was washed up on the beach," Margot recalls.

"The whole town went down to the beach, only to find there was no whale."

On another occasion, her Dad informed people the pub was offering free beer all day.

She said one of her Dad's greatest legacies would be his contributions to the community through the Bogangar shop.

"I think they had great foresight, to get the area to where it is now."

Margot said while Don and Heather retired from the shop in 2005, their legacy there will not be forgotten.

She said when Woolworths was built on the same site they used timber pillars from the Johansen family mill.

Don had cut the pillars himself before opening the Bogangar shop.

"Artists came from Mullum and Sydney to carve Mum and Dad's story on the pillars," Margot said.

Margot said the family was thrilled by Woolworth's recognition of their hard work.

"I was absolutely astounded that people, who previously had nothing to do with the area would do this."

Don's wife and daughter agree he had a solid work ethic and never wanted to be the centre of attention.

"He didn't like people to make a fuss of him," Mrs Johansen said.

"He was always behind the scenes, but he was always there to help."

Margot said her father's farewell was an intimate affair, just as he would have liked it.

"We didn't have a big funeral, just a private family cremation.

"He said he didn't want anyone taking the day off work for him."

Don's wife said despite all his community involvement, his family always came first.

Don had 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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