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Much-loved father of 11 worked three jobs

Danny Spice and his wife in March 2014, taken by the Gazette. Picture: Kylie PIttOBITUARY
Nanjing Night Net

Daniel Joseph Spice was born in Toronto, Newcastle on July 22,1928. He was the son of railway fettler Daniel Spiceand wife Ethel, and had nine siblings.

When he was ninehis family moved to Richmond and he went to St Monica’s Primary, not going beyond sixth class.

He started work at 13, as a milkman. Sevendays a week he started work at 4am in the morning, milkingcows in Dight Street. The old dairy is still there now. After milking he would deliver the milk by horse and cart to the local shops and houses.

After that he started an apprenticeship with the local butcher.

His son Daniel said he loved riding bikes, having apunt on the ponies and playing football, becomingcaptain and coachfor Richmond and playing A grade for Riverstone. He was alsothe first paid player for the Riverstone Rugby League Club.

He worked at Riverstone butcher shop, and one day he noticed a beautiful red-headed woman at the frontcounter. He turned to his work mates and said “I’m going tomarry that girl someday”.His mates laughed at him and said “a good looking girl like thatwon’t have anything to do with a bloke like you Danny.”

Danny Spice in his Richmond football days.

Danny would often tell his kids “it was love at first sight”. They married in February 1954 at St Matthew’s Catholic Chruch in Windsor.

As newlyweds they first lived on the May family farm at Pitt Town Bottoms right on the river. Dannywould get up every day in the early hours of themorningand ride his bike to Mulgrave station way before streetlights and tarred roads and catch the train to Central as he was working at a butcher shop in East Sydney.

His next job was atWisemans Ferry. On Sunday nights he would drive there,cut meat, serve it in thelocal store and return home on Wednesday. His family said this was the firstbutcher shop on the Hawkesbury River; before then, meat wasdelivered by barge up the river from Brooklyn. Hewould then spend the rest of the week working at the Richmond or Windsor butcher shops.

Shortly after this hewas offered a new job managing a butchershop at St Marys, so they moved there to the back of the butcher shop, on Queen Street.

They had their first son David then moved to Catalina Street. The family grew to five children, all under the age of three.As they years went by, the family grew to 10.

To pay for his huge family Danny wouldget up at 5am to do a paper run, then open the shop on Queen Street at 8am. After the shop closed at the end of the day he would drive a taxi until one or two in the morning.

Dannyleft the butcher shop some time later and took on a new job as a boner slicer atRiverstone Meat Works and the older boys took up the paper run in the mornings at North St Marys.

In 1973 they decided to move back to the Hawkesbury and took up residence at15 Pitt Street,Richmond. The two-bedroom house needed serious extensions. He built one big bedroom on the back for the six boys. An eleventh child came along not long after.

In October 1978 their eldest son David passed away, a loss which shattered the couple.

By that stage Danny was working roughly 120 hours a week, managingWindsor Railway butcher shop for his brother in-law anddriving his cab week nights and all weekend. Most nights he wouldonly get four or five hours’sleep.

“Dad would put on the porridge, get himself ready for work andwake us up on his way out,” son Daniel said. “If we didn’t jump to it he would pour adrop of water in our ears –wewould fly out of bed then!”

Working threejobs a week for 30 years took a toll on himand at the age of 60 he had threebypasses and a newvalve put in his heart.

He knew this was a warning sign so they bought his parents’ home at 53 March Street and relocated it to a property at Mudgee. Danny bought ataxi in town and they built a beautiful home there.

They bought a motor home and travelled aroundAustralia. When the Mudgee farm got too much theybuilt a granny flat at Daniel’s place at Agnes Banks.

In February 2014 they celebrated their 60thweddng anniversary, which the Gazette covered.

His wife Patty passed away only three months later and son Daniel said his dad was never the same again.

“In 60 years of marriage we never saw him even raise his voice towards his princess. We only ever saw love in his eyes forher.He would hold her hand whenever they walked together, alwaysopening the car door and pulling out a chair for mum to sit on – a realreal gentleman. And now this was all gone,” Daniel said.

Danny then spent as much time as possible with his children’s families.

“We all wanted to be dad’s favourite and in his own way he madeeach and every one of his 11 children feel as if they were hisnumber one,” Daniel said.

On February 16 this yearhehad a stroke in the morning, andwas rushed to Nepean Hospital emergency ward as his wife had been, and that afternoon,surrounded by his children, he passed away.

“One of my brothers stood up and said “well ladies and gentleman, wecan close the book now! They don’t write them like that anymore!” Daniel said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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