A devoted family man, an astute businessman, a larrikin and a true friend. Brian Iversen, who ran Blue Mountains Ugg Boots at Faulconbridge for more than two decades, was remembered as all of these things at his funeral last week.
Mr Iversen (pictured), just 46, succumbed on February 5 to the cancer that first appeared about five years ago as a brain tumour and which he thought he had beaten twice.
But after a turn on New Year’s Eve, doctors discovered it had spread to his spine and within six weeks it had finally claimed his life.
Brian Iversen was born in January 1968 and went to school at Springwood High.
He took over the family-run business in 1991.
Christian Ritchie, now a real estate agent in Springwood, worked with Mr Iversen for 10 years from the mid-1990s.
“He had friends all over town. He was very well-known,” he said. “He obviously loved his family and would do anything for them.”
He recalled Mr Iversen liked to dress up to collect his children — Joseph, 10, and Isabel, 8 — from school. Sometimes he’d wear a clown outfit or a dinosaur suit to give them a laugh.
“He made sure he lived life. He never shied away from anything,” Mr Ritchie said.
He was also strongly involved with the community, sponsoring kids soccer and junior rugby teams. He employed many young people in his shop — they would start as a packer and move up to working behind the counter — and he instilled in each a solid work ethic, Mr Ritchie said.
After his initial diagnosis, his wife, Fiona, took over more of the running of the business so it would remain in the family.
Mr Iversen stayed at home until a couple of days before his death in Nepean Hospital. But he stayed alert, almost to the end, Mr Ritchie said.
“Everyone got to come and see him and say goodbye. Even 24 hours beforehand, he could still open his eyes and acknowledge people.”
In the long-running dispute between an American company and Australian ugg boot sellers over the use of the name “Ugg”, Mr Iversen was a staunch supporter of the local case.
A US journalist who interviewed him described the encounter like this: “In Faulconbridge, in NSW, Brian Iversen, whose family have run Blue Mountains Ugg Boots since 1933, says that he long ago considered trademarking the name, but decided it would be pointless. ‘Every Australian knows that ugg’s a generic term for sheepskin boots,’ he drawls, sheltering from the midday sun in his tiny, tin-roofed workshop. ‘What the Americans are doing is like Ford suddenly announcing that they are the only people allowed to use the word “car”. It’s just bloody rude, mate.’”