Ivan still has Twinkle in his eyes
GYMPIE footy stalwart and devoted father-of-eight Ivan Brennan celebrated his 90th birthday with a feed of Kentucky Fried Chicken yesterday and a cuddle with his dog Twinkle.
The real party has to wait a few days so about 150 people can make their way to the clubhouse at Jack Stokes Oval on Saturday to join Ivan, his wife Vi and their seven sons and daughter in a huge celebration of this highly regarded, softly spoken, family man's life.
Ivan was born in a different era - 1923 - about a month after the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the woman we all knew as The Queen Mother.
He was the eldest of 14 children for Annie and Joseph (Joe) Brennan, who raised their big family in homes in Barter St and then Lady Mary Tce.
Ivan went to school at St Patrick's convent and then Christian Brothers before starting his butchering apprenticeship when he was about 12.
He loved his rugby league and was a Northern Suburbs Football Club halfback for many years, also taking on positions of selector and captain, and winning premierships in 1946, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1955.
He was not a huge man so he often got injured. Everyone was told "Don't tell Mum!"
"But mums always know don't they," Vi laughed yesterday, sitting beside her husband at Grevillea Gardens, where Ivan has lived for the past two years so he can receive the nursing and medical care he needs.
Ivan married Violet Rachow in 1956; Vi too came from a large family and had eight brothers and one sister.
Ivan loved his sport, but gave it up to help Vi with their own family.
With such a big family the celebrations have been almost constant over the years. Ivan's eight children have given him 24 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Guests from all over Queensland will celebrate his 90th birthday, and Vi said yesterday anyone who had known Ivan over the years was invited to drop in for a cup of tea at the Jack Stokes footy grounds from 10am this Saturday.