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Top bloke, friend to all


May 19, 2018 by admin

Henno IllistomTHE Macarthur region has lost one of its great characters with the death of HennoIllistom, of Pheasants Nest.

Mr Illistom worked at the Advertisers for about 10 years as an advertising rep before he retired about 2004.

After he retired, he became a harness racing trainer and horse owner.

He died last Tuesday from cancer at the age of 68.

Former Advertiser editor Eric Kontos said Mr Illistom was “a legend”.

“He became so well known in the Macarthur district as a sales rep with us here at Fairfax and before that with Cumberland Newspapers, as well as through the harness racing industry, that those of us who knew him well always thought Henno was a bit of a legend,” Mr Kontos said.

“Henno made people happy because he always had time for them all. He was always positive, and that’s why so many people will be saddened when they hear that he’s gone.”

NSW Harness Racing chief executive John Dumesny and Henno went back 25 years.

“Ever smiling, ever optimistic, never negative — that was Henno — always offering to help anyone,” Mr Dumesny said.

“The term champion is often over applied without the necessary qualifications.

“However, in the case of Henno he was a champion bloke.”

Mr Illistom’s son Jamie said his father was “larger than life” and “very outgoing”.

“He was one of those people that could always get a laugh out of anyone,” he said.

“I will miss his optimism. He was a very ‘glass is half full’ kind of person.

“He was willing to give anything a go.”

Mr Illistom was born in Tallinn in Estonia and came to Australia as a refugee in 1949 when he was five.

He first lived in Thirlmere before moving to Pheasants Nest, where he lived for more than 30 years. Jamie said his father was well known and liked in the community.

“Even to this day a lot of his clients are still friends of his,” he said.

“He was a real straight shooter.

“If he didn’t like you, you knew about it. But if he did like you, you also knew.”

Mr Illistom’s funeral will be held at St Mark’s Church in Picton today at 11am. A large crowd is expected.

Jamie said one of his father’s last wishes was that there be no flowers at his funeral.

Mourners are asked to make instead a donation to the palliative care unit at Camden Hospital.

Mr Illistom is survived by his wife Wendy, his sons Jamie and Matthew and his grand-daughters Brittany and Amanda.

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