You couldn’t wipe the smile from Kingsley Bowley’s face every time he stepped up into the cab of his shiny new silver Cascadia.
The 67-year-old, affectionately known as Kingy – or No.1 around the Whiteline Transport yard in Adelaide – reckoned the state-of-the-art rig would see him right for at least the next 10 years.
Sadly, however, the duo made their final weekly run from Perth at the weekend.
Whiteline boss Sharon Middleton says Kingy’s sudden death at the depot from natural causes is a devastating blow, and left everyone who knew the much-loved truckie with a heavy heart.
“Kingy has been an important and much loved team member at Whiteline for 18 years,” she writes on the company Facebook page.
“Those that knew Kingy are fully aware of his larger than life personality, his sense of humour and his enormous heart.”
Kingy drove Adelaide to Perth for Whiteline and in that time clocked up over four million safe, incident-free kilometres, said Middleton.
“He loved trucking, had many friends on the road he travelled with and always had a story to tell.
“Prior to Whiteline, he was one of Georgie’s boys and could always be relied on – he was a true professional.
“Kingy was loyal and dependable and we, his Whiteline Family, will miss him every day, reunited with his beloved wife Pauline.
“Thank you Kingy, rest peacefully – you have earnt that.
Middleton concluded by sending love and support to his sons and their families.
“We will advise further once funeral arrangements have been made.”
In a measure of the respect and many friends Kingy had in the industry, Middleton’s Facebook message sparked an outpouring of condolences.
“The tragic news yesterday knocked the breath out of me,” writes Steve Shearer, head of the South Australian Road Transport Association.
“King Bowley was one of the greats of the industry. A true professional with over 4 million kms incident free over the past 17 years at Whiteline.
“He was a great character who looked out for and cared for everyone on the road. His engaging smile seldom left his face and then only briefly.
“You will be missed immeasurably King, and for all the best reasons. RIP mate.”
Son David also thanked Middleton for her emotional eulogy.
“Such beautiful words. Thankyou Whiteline Transport for all you support and kind words in these tough times. RIP Dad. Love ya mate.”