I am very proud to be able to say, that my wife Mary and I consider ourselves very good friends of Werner and Mila Remsnik. We are very grateful to the Remšnik family for giving us the opportunity to be allowed to be part of the celebration of his life and of a very dear friend. I first met Werner back in the mid-sixties through the Slovenian Association Melbourne.

 It is always emotional to say goodbye at the best of times, it is even harder and sadder to say farewell to a friend of many years.  Werner Remšnik reached a good age. Not everyone has a gift of 89 years. 89 full glorious years (he would have been 90 this year). 89 full glorious years of dreams, hopes, happiness, disappointments, and everything else that his life had to offer. To have lived nearly 90 years on Gods earth is good enough reason to celebrate life.  Werner’s life was blessed with the very best. But at the same time I am sure there were times of sadness. Sadness that only a migrant can experience.

Werner Remšnik was born on 12thof March 1926 in a lovely village of Selnica, on the river Drava, near Ruše in Slovenija. He was an only child. Later, the family moved to an old town, called ORMOŽ, a city on the river Drava on the edge of Slovenske Gorice, in the region of Štajerska. Werner grew up in a well to do family. He told me the story, how he was driven to and from school by the family chauffeur. After spending, some of his privileged, carefree childhood days around the neighbourhood of Ormož, young Werner was sent to school at Maribor, the regional capital. His father was an educated and a wise man, he realized, that his son was enjoying too many privileges in his home town. The school grades were given to him because he was a Remsnik. In Maribor he was just another student from the country. He did not like it there, young Werner had to work very hard to get his grades up, he told me; “no privileges there”. 

War came and German occupiers’ decided to put the eighteen years old boy into the German army uniform and send him away to train him as a soldier. Ready for the Russian front. Lucky for him, the war was coming towards the end. With some courage and a lot of luck, Werner made it home, together with a friend. After the war, young Werner finds himself in Maribor guarding German prisoners of war. With a clever story and lots of luck, he succeeded and outwitted the officer in charge and escaped to Graz in Austria, where he was reunited with his mother. By now his father had passed away.In Graz, Austria, Werner continued with his studies, and graduated with an engineering degree. The acquired knowledge provided him with skills for a lifetime. Firstly, he gained working experience in Austria and later used his engineering knowledge, combined with his creative thinking during his working years in his adopted country Australia. Because, Werner was not allowed to stay in Austria, he chose Australia for his new home. As all newly arrived migrants Werner did various jobs, until he finally finished up at Gerard and Company, Gerard’s became his second home.

Yes, Werner was a handy man, who believed in one thing. Don’t pay for what you can fix or what you can do yourself, and Werner could fix just about anything. His patience and persistence had no limits, he appreciated what he had and was careful not to waste anything that could be useful later. 

Werner was not only an excellent father and a devoted husband, he was also very community minded. Endless hours, and sometimes all weekends were spent at Slovenian Association Melbourne, many times together with his wife Mila. This was no big deal for him. His attitude was, it is just something you do for your countryman, for the benefit of the Club and the extended Slovenian family. Werner served many years on the committee of Slovenian Association Melbourne as treasurer and in many other roles. I don’t believe he could ever say no to any request, no matter how late he received the call. Even buying groceries on a Saturday before a function was ok with him. For example; it was late one day, the telephone rings at Remšniks place, the caller told him there is no sugar in the clubs kitchen. Guess what? Werner went out and got some. There is a club function, the water is not flowing properly, get Werner he will fix it, drag him away from the table and his friends. Nothing was ever too late or too hard for him.  Not many people knew that Werner was also a good cook. When I first met him, Werner was cooking krajnske at a club function, later I found out that he was capable of taking over the kitchen for mother’s day, and prepare a buffet meal, without any fuss. Of course, with lots of help from Mila. Not many people knew that Werner was also a keen sportsman, besides a game of tennis he loved snow skiing. His favourite story always included adventures on  regular skiing trips to France and Switzerland with his two mates, both deceased, Paul Česnik and Marjan Potočnik.

Regular attendances at dances and functions at the Slovenian Association was a very important part of Werner and Mila’s social life, I don’t think they ever missed a function.  Both of them loved to be with people. I am not sure, if he really loved to dance or was it because Mila dragged him onto the dance floor. One thing is for sure, he was always very serious during the dance. It was amazing how much respect individuals had for Werner. The majority of people in the Slovenian community would refer to Werner as Mr. Remšnik or Mr and Mrs Remsnik. Werner commanded great respect from everyone that knew him. 

Werner was very proud of his family and often spoke, with pride, of his daughters and his grandchildren.Mary and I valued Werner and Mila’s friendship, the two honest, humble, full of life, positive thinkers, genuine down to earth people, easy to communicate with.  One of Werner’s qualities was his positive non-judgemental attitude to people, he was truly a man of his word, and his promise was his bond. His other quality was that he always saw only the best in people. All of us who knew Werner, will miss him, his parting will leave us with many fond memories of happy times we shared together.  

Werner will be sadly missed, both by his family and by his many friends, Werner has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved. May God bless Werner Remsnik, and may he rest in eternal peace. Goodbye Werner, rest in peace.

Wernerju Remšnik v zadnje slovo: Werner, pogrešali te bomo,  pogrešala te bo tvoja družina,  pogrešali te bodo nešteti prijatelji. Pogrešali bomo tvojo pokončnost, pogrešali bomo tvojo skromnost, pogrešali bomo tvojo iskrenost. Prišel je čas, dotrpel si svojo zemeljsko pot. Mirno in brez slovesa si odšel na drugi svet,  svet brez bolečin in brez trpljenja. Dragi Werner, ostal nam boš v večnem spominu  dokler se ne snidemo pred stvarnikom na drugi strani. Naj ti Bog da zaslužen počitek, pogrešali te bomo, pozabili pa nikoli. Dolgoletni prijatelj, Stanko Prosenak, Kew, 12thof January 2016