Sunday, 13 July 2014

John Henry Vale Leathem. “AN APPRECIATION” & “CORONERS REPORT” 1924.

Molong Express and Western District Advertiser NSW
31 May 1924

(By 'Rambler.')

'A friendly smile and a kindly word smooth many a rut on life's rough path ' — and Jack Leathem was ever a ready and generous dispenser of both.
And these two rare virtues in combination were the great secret of a popularity as widespread as was the expressions of regret when the news of his tragic and untimely death became known throughout the large district in which he had so long lived and served.

Failings he had — as all of us — but virtues few could claim.

Known to all, by all was he beloved, and many a lame dog, limping along life's pathway, has had his life brightened and his, trust in 'his fellow-man restored by the sympathetic friendship and, kindly aid of Jack Leathem. 

Gifted with a disposition that radiated, sunshine, possessed of a firm faith in the district and its future, and imbued with a full sense of the responsibility attaching to the conduction of a newspaper as a vehicle for the education of the people and the moulding of public opinion, he walked in the path he deemed to be right, and neither promise of personal gain or threat of personal loss could deviate his steps one inch to the right or the left. He walked straight and lived straight.

To him the press  stood for something more than, being the record of the little personal and public happenings that centred around the town and district of Molong — it stood for a policy (and policy in expression) of broad national democracy, of the advancement of the prosperity, of the district and of the development of its resources. 

His life's aim was to make the 'Express' a paper worthy of the great district in which it had so wide a circulation, and to assist whole-heartedly any and every movement that represented progression.

He had his own opinions — and he made no secret of them. He scorned disguise and misrepresentation, no matter their object, and eschewed anything and everything that would not stand untarnished the glaring light of public investigation. His policy could be well summed up in the words 'Plain talk in plain words, and honest action without apology.

Jack Leathem was a good citizen, in the truest sense of the word, and though his profession precluded his practical participation in certain phases of public life in which he took a keen interest, yet no call for his assistance ever remained unanswered, no demand on his charity but met a prompt and generous reply. 

To his loved ones who mourn his passing, to his friends who by his death have lost one held in deep esteem, there is comfort in the memory of his charming smile and ready word of cheer, encouragement in his broad outlook, and an example in his life's motto: 
'Do what you think to be right, and, don't count the expense.'

Jack Leathem 's body lies in God's Acre, but his spirit lives, for the dead are still on earth in hearts where no high thought hath birth; death cannot clasp the spirit free of he who dares a man to be — the wrong to right, the right to do, the truth to speak, the false eschew.

District Coroner's report.

District Coroner (Mr. C. C. E. Kinna.) held an inquest on Tuesday afternoon, into the circumstance surrounding the death of the late Mr. John V. Leathem on the Molong Manildra Road on the night of Saturday, May 17th.

Evidence was given by Dr. Mollison, Sergeant Bool, Constable Carr and Messrs. C. J. V, Leathem, H. Rubie and A. Packham. Constable Carr stated that from the appearance of the wheel tracks it would appear that the deceased's horse had bolted for 150yards along the road before leaving the formation and over-turning the sulky.

The Coroner's finding was that the deceased met his death from injuries, evidently received through being thrown out of a sulky drawn by a horse he was driving at the time of the accident.

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