A Tribute to Alan Nye

Alan Nye passed away on 16 May 2015, a day after his 67th birthday. He was born in the United Kingdom and also lived in Australia and Indonesia. He had six children from three marriages. His love of rugby meant he played all his life. Yes, that’s right – he was still playing at the age of 66! His love of nature, history and exercise was reflected in the fact that three weeks before his death, he walked the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea. He contracted a bacterial infection on or soon after this last epic adventure. Sadly, it was this infection that ultimately led to his passing.

To all who met Alan Nye, he was a gentle, cheerful, intelligent man. To all who knew him well, he was all of that and more; he was a hero to many. He was incredibly loyal to his friends; generous, caring, and enthusiastic about life. Problems were mere speed humps in Alan’s life, matters to be negotiated with caution – or speed – so they did not impede success.

He loved his rugby – both codes – because of the camaraderie it brought and the tales it peddled. Indeed, few, if any, have matched his emotional, physical, technical and financial contribution to Indonesian rugby. Many of his friends will remember him for rugby and others will remember him for his enthusiasm for life.

Alan loved to climb a mountain, ride a bike, take a long walk – anything that kept him active and in good company where he could spin a tale, tell a bad joke or tackle the most complex philosophical discussion. Alan had a playful wickedness about him that could be infuriating and endearing.

When things went wrong for which he was clearly to blame, he had a tendency to tell only half the story and then claim innocently that he did not complete the tale because he wasn’t asked. For example, his sons, Stephen and David, tell of Alan’s advice to their mother, Sue, in the 1980s when he had gotten a job at Blair Athol. For the UK-based family, this did not appear too much of an issue until they realized Alan had been talking of Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, Australia – not the distillery in Scotland. Years later, Alan would cheekily grin that he never told the whole story because the family never asked.

As hard as it must have been at the time for his family to leave the UK, we are grateful that he took that turn in life because it eventually led him to Indonesia. Over the past 25 years, he built a reputation within the Indonesian mining community and eventually established Britmindo 11 years ago. Later with his sons Stephen and David, they continued to grow the business into the Britmindo Group of today, employing over 120 Indonesians. He was known for his integrity and passion for doing a job well, whether it was training a new, young recruit or working with a multinational.

Alan was well read with an eclectic range of interests, including a love of plants and flowers, poetry, philosophy and, of course, geology. He was a simple man. He had only one watch, a phone that was very modern 10 years ago, and a fashion sense that required lots of attention. But he never sought more than he needed. Among the things he never wanted was sympathy.

During a long rugby career, which he played well into his 60s, he had multiple injuries, including a broken neck, collarbone and ankle.

He also survived prostrate cancer.

None of these mere setbacks diminished his love for action or for life and his determination and perseverance had him coming back for more. He exercised every day and was fitter than many men half his age.

This heroic exuberant thirst for life defined him to many; he was always ready to come back for more. That is why we all miss him so much – we all expect him to burst into our lives, ready to do it all over again!

Alan is survived by his parents, Bernard and Betty, his brother Eric, wife Cynthia and twin daughters Allys and Allyn, as well as Annisa and Adam from his second marriage and eldest sons Stephen and David from his first marriage. Alan also has three grandchildren, Mikaela, William and Aidan.

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