Popular principal never forgot a name

Lex Prowd and his wife Mary.
Lex Prowd and his wife Mary. Erle Levey

RETIRED teacher and principal Lex Prowd's remarkable memory enabled him to recall the names of past students and staff at his schools but for many of them, he was unforgettable.

Mr Prowd, who died suddenly on October 31, will be remembered as one of Mooloolaba State School's favourite principals.

He led the school from 1975 to 1983 when the area's population, and the school's enrolment numbers, were going through a period of unprecedented growth.

Alison Quirk, who was P&C president during Mr Prowd's reign, said he had been an "great" principal

"Lex involved the growing community in the development of MSS and always maintained the respect of parents, committee members and students alike," she said.

"For me he was an excellent role model in the education system."

Mr Prowd began his career in education with his appointment at Gympie Central State School in 1959, after graduating with a Certificate of Eduation from Kelvin Grove Teacher's College the previous year.

Born in the small country town of Chinchilla, the eldest of four children, Mr Prowd had spent his early years there before the family moved to Gympie when he started his secondary education.

He revelled in school life, playing cricket and tennis, winning the high jump competition, and finished as school prefect and captain of his sports house in his final year.

After returning to Gympie as a probationary teacher, Mr Prowd continued to study for an Associate of Education and a Bachelor of Education, and was soon on his way.

He was appointed principal of a one teacher school in his second year and moved through the ranks as he moved schools, towing his wife, Helen, and their children, Lee and Neil, with him until they arrived in Mooloolaba.

There the family put down roots. Mr Prowd became heavily involved with Rotary, surf life saving, and golf, and was a radio operator for the rescue helicopter for a time.

In 1983, he was transferred to Currimundi State School, and five years later he was transferred to Buderim State School, but never made it because he was instead appointed as a school inspector.

Although he finding success profesionally, Mr Prowd's marriage faltered and did not last.

He found love again with, Mary, embracing each other's families and supporting each other in their professional endeavours.

He worked as a school inspector until 1991, when the inspectorate was abolished and early retirement beckoned, enabling him to dabble in real estate, nurture an interest in painting, and catch up with friends for coffee.

He also helped his younger brother, Garth, with staging triathlons in Mooloolaba and Noosa, and promoting the sport.

Mr Prowd's life after school included a retreat for ex-school inspectors at Fraser Island where educational and political problems of the day were solved but the solutions forgotten by the next day.

His friend, Len Fox, described him as friendly, helpful, an innovator and mentor, a person of great intellect and high standards "who inspired people to give of their best."

Peter Hall, a director at Hall Contracting and past Mooloolaba resident, paid tribute on Facebook.

"Great bloke, Lex, and was probably the most well liked headmaster at Mooloolaba State School and changed many kids lives for the better," he said.

Mr Prowd is survived by Mary, their five combined children and grandchildren.

Topics:  obituary

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