A man who brought music to the people of Orange for many years, helped start the Orange Credit Union and worked at Email for 34 years without a sick day, has died.
Max Fricke, who played the bandoneon, similar to a piano accordian, was 97 when he died last week.
His wife Janet Allcorn said he was sorely missed, particularly after losing a son only six months ago.
Mrs Allcorn said they married in 1973, and though they did not have children, he played a major role in helping raise her four children.
"We divorced and got back together again," she said.
Mr Fricke was part of the Canobolas Trio, along with the late Jim Longman and Ron Young.
He worked there for 34 years. He never missed a day in 34 years.Janet Allcorn, wife of Max Fricke
"They played at the [Hotel] Canobolas for 25 years," she said.
"Saturday night dinner dances, funerals, weddings. He's played music all over Orange and other towns."
She said Mr Fricke was born in Germany in December 1921.
In 1942 he was part of the German forces fighting the Russians near Stalingrad in World War II.
"He was badly wounded in battle. He was repatriated to Germany. He recovered from that," she said.
VIDEO: Max Fricke playing the bandoneon
Mr Fricke, a trained toolmaker, emigrated to Australia with his wife Helene in 1953 to work at Email.
"She only stayed 12 years and she went back home again," she said.
"He worked there for 34 years. He never missed a day in 34 years."
Mrs Allcorn said he retired in 1987 and continued to play music up until three years ago when his health deteriorated.
He has been a resident at Gosling Creek Nursing Home since 2017.
Mr Fricke was one of the founders of the Orange Credit Union which started at the Email factory.
A Credit Union spokeswoman said in 1964 Mr Fricke deposited 500 pounds into the credit union to help it make its first loan, 400 pounds, for home renovations.
Credit Union general manager Paul McNamara said Mr Fricke was "a great man, very talented and interesting.
"Some of his stories related to his childhood in poverty stricken Germany, or his German war service and how he was shot in the arm by the Russians, how he had to survive on food scraps trying to get home from the Russian war front.
"How he came to Australia for a better life and worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. How he played the bandoneon and hated it when people called it a squeeze box," he said.
Mr Fricke's funeral is at noon on Tuesday at The Penhall Memorial Chapel in William Street.
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