BLUE skies and a mild surf painted a beautiful natural background for the final journey of Leslie (Les) Michael Howard Pensa at Tallebudgera on Saturday, March 14, 2020. His ashes were taken out the back of the surf and placed into the ocean for the family by members of the Tallebudgera Surf Club at Palm Beach.
Les, died on May 17, 2018, aged 80 years.
Les' second wife Anne said the beach held a special place for her and Les, having spent many years living in the area in a two-bedroom unit before moving out west near Dalby for a country lifestyle years ago.
For Anne, the belated wake was a chance to reflect on the loss of her partner and the trials and tribulations of his 80 years.
Born in Valetta in Malta, Anne said Les left school and trained as a chef in France for nine years, before coming to Australia in his late 20s where he operated his own business for a number of years before starting to work for the Bank of NSW as a migrant advisory officer.
During this time, he met and married his first wife Vivienne. They had four children, Nicole, Dale, Simone and Yvette.
"Vivienne and Les were dancing partners and their love of this sport was like life itself," Anne said.
"She adored her four children and spent her life giving all she could to them. She kept the family home [and] went to work to support herself and her family. She sent them to private catholic schools, even though she is an Anglican.
"She is a very special person and must be so very proud of her achievements over the years.
"It was so sad that their marriage ended in divorce and an annulment was granted and that their children don't understand why, what, how, when and where things went wrong.
"I hope and pray that Nicole, Simone and Yvette find the love that their father shared with them".
Les' first marriage did not survive a challenging period in Les' life in the late 70s when he found himself on the wrong side of the law and was incarcerated.
When Les came out he found odd jobs and went on to open a restaurant called Le Beach Hut at Botany Bay. He ran that business for a number of years before moving on to voluntary work which eventually led him to a job working as the manager of Mitre 10 in Ashmore on the Gold Coast.
Les and Anne met at a Guardian Angels Prayer Group at Southport they both attended on a Thursday night.
"Our prayer group friends eagerly egged Les on to take me out," Anne said.
"He said he was too old for me and refrained from asking me out until he spoke with my mother Maureen (my father had passed away).
"Then he and I became friends and eventually, after many years of lectures from Father Alan Gibson, Les and I were granted annulment from Pope John Paul and we married with his blessing". That was 13 June 1998.
Anne recalls the times living with Les at the Guardian Angels Presbytery where Les worked around the ridges painting the presbytery and cooking thousands of meals for the local homeless.
She said Les had treated her like a queen the whole time they were together. He had a big heart and true love for his children.
Fondly she recalled a conversation they had when Anne's mum Maureen became too ill to look after herself and needed to go into care.
The couple were driving from Jandowae to Brisbane weekly to see her and Les made it clear he was happy to sell up at Jandowae to move closer to her Mum, despite the fact they would not have enough money to buy a house in Brisbane and would likely be renting for the rest of their lives.
"Nothing was ever too much for Les," Anne said.
"He was a good guy and loved Mum as a true son-in-law should.
"He made me ever so happy that I could spend Mum's last days with her.
"Les taught me about life itself and I stand in good stead waiting to join him in eternity".
Les was the beloved husband of Anne, father of Nicole, Dale, Simone, Yvette and step father of Benjamin, Rebecca, Catherine and Sophie. He had eight grandchildren and six step grandchildren.