A former truckie who now runs his own successful truck customisation business wanted to do something special in honour of his late step-father, so he came up with a unique idea.
“My step-father was a truckie. He did everything and anything to do with trucks. He was an owner operator and used to drive trucks for everyone,” recalled Mick Lake.
“I used to go with him in the truck from when I was about 10 years old so I grew up in them too. He also started teaching me to drive when I was about 10 too.”
Robert Stephan Reade – better known as Bob – passed away on September 3, 2022, at the age of 75. Though he had retired from the game about 10 years prior, he had always loved his trucks.
Reade started his career as a diesel mechanic in Lismore. “He moved from state to state as a young fella, then when he moved to Brisbane, he started driving trucks.
“He loved the freedom of it all,” added Lake. “His driving career was mainly based in Brisbane, travelling to Melbourne, doing express work and carrying produce to the markets.
“But he had a bad truck crash about 20 years ago, after hitting a bull. It was years before he could get back in the truck.”
Throughout his career though, there was one particular truck that held a very special place in Reade’s heart – it was a 1986 W model Kenworth, which he owned until about 1990.
That gave Lake an idea, to create a new headstone for his step-father based on his favourite truck.
Lake has run his business Truckin Stainless, from Meadowbrook, Queensland, since 2006.
“We do anything and everything, from sun visors to exhausts, to custom interiors, and all sorts of refurbs. I’ve restored a few of my own trucks too,” he said.
“In the beginning, I was still driving every night and then doing this all day. Then I got a couple of big jobs for Kenworths, so I decided to give up on the driving and do this full time. I wanted a change. It’s just me here and another bloke here.
“We do all stainless steel work for trucks and bling them up. It’s all custom work, so I thought we’d make something up for Bob too.”
The Kenworth W model themed headstone took Lake just two days to create and was put up at the cemetery on January 13 this year.
“All the lights on it are working, so you can see it from the highway at night. It’s at the Maryvale Cemetery, which is near Cunninghams Gap,” explained Lake.
Though Lake now spends less time behind the wheel, he admits he’s still very truck-mad. “It’s just from being in them from such a young age I think. I couldn’t get away from them,” he said.
Lake still owns several trucks, all of which he’s rebuilt from the ground up.
“I’ve got four trucks of my own. They’re all show trucks. I try to get around the show circuit in Brisbane. We have a yellow 1972 White 4000, a 1986 International Atkinson, a 1964 Kenworth Seattle W model and a Kenworth T600. And then my brother has a yellow Kenworth SAR.”
That Kenworth SAR, named ‘Heartbreaker’, was used for Reade’s final send-off, carrying his coffin from Warwick to Maryville for the funeral, followed by another two trucks.
Since sharing a photo of the tribute he created for his step-father, Lake has had an incredible response – with the post garnering over 100,000 likes on his Facebook page. “We now have about 20 orders from people in the United States who want one for their loved ones,” he said.