A life well lived: a tribute to Bruce Eaton

By Gail Eaton

MANY in the Glenorchy area would be saddened to hear of the passing of Bruce Eaton, a well-known past retailer in the area.

Trained as a fitter and turner at H Jones and Co, he needed to find new work after suffering tuberculosis in his 20s.

His long career in retail began and he worked at Charles Davis, Genders, Canes and Homecrafts, before opening Bruce Eaton Retravision in Glenorchy in the 1970s.

The first shop was on Main Road, Glenorchy where Chemist Warehouse is now, before moving to larger premises in Beakley’s Arcade (now Priceline) and then Northgate.

It has been very touching to hear Dad and his store have been remembered.

We often hear that “back in the day, you wouldn’t go anywhere else but Bruce Eaton’s.”

When he was ill recently, many nursing staff volunteered their happy memories of going into the shop as kids with their parents and one of them told me how “honoured he was to nurse Bruce Eaton.”

We were told by an acquaintance that at a family dinner, the subject of Dad’s passing came up.

They all talked about what they bought at the shop and the fond memories they had.

Dad was a contributor to the Glenorchy community in many ways.

Like his Mum before him, he was a larger than life figure at the Glenorchy Football Club, spending some time as Chair of the Board of Directors.

He was President of the Moonah Primary Parents and Friends, where we went to school, and he sponsored the weekly awards at the Claremont Golf Club.

He sponsored the Umpires Award for the Tasmanian Football League and presented the awards live on television.

Many people have benefited from his generosity.

He advertised heavily in the Mercury and on radio 7HOFM, Cooke and Moore called him “big bad Brucie Eaton” and encouraged everyone to go see him and get a good deal on whatever electrical appliance they needed.

In the early 90s, Dad negotiated a successful merger with Loughran’s, who later sold to Harvey Norman.

He designed the building that was Loughran’s but is now the Glenorchy Police Station.

On his retirement in 1995, Gerald Loughran reported in the Loughran’s Chronicle: “Bruce was an outstanding manager who not only had the respect of all at Loughran’s, but also the retail industry as a whole.”

After a long illness, our mum, Stella, passed away in 2016.

Dad’s devotion to her and his grief at her passing 20 months before his has been obvious to us all.

He became ill in April this year and passed away on 18 June, one month after his 83rd birthday.

Our Dad is sadly missed by his children (Gail, Philip and Gary), grandchildren, great grandchildren and extended family, and we remember him with great pride and love.

Caption: The late Bruce Eaton, far left, with children Phil, Gary and Gail at the Claremont Hotel.