Manly continues to mourn the loss of our iconic late night “kebab flutist” Mario Geklik, who lured in late night revellers with his flute and entertained us all into the early hours.
The employee at the Manly Seaside kebabs worked there for 21 years and had become an icon for the area. He died after a two year battle with cancer on 4 May. It was his birthday.
The father of five first played the flute as a shepherd in his Turkish homeland. He used it to bring in the lambs.
On his way to safe passage to Australia as a Kurdish refugee, he lived in Japan where he became fluent in the language. He eventually made it to our shores and began his new life where he showed an unrivalled work ethic and eventually brought over his whole family.
His boss Memet Arslan told us with a tear in his eye last Thursday that even in his final week of life Mario had his “work kit and flute packed and by the door ready” for his return.
Memet told us how Mario had first come to work in his kebab store, asking to work the very night he was offered a position and presenting for duty again without being asked the next day at opening, despite finishing his shift at 4am.
A dedicated employee, loving father and a friend to thousands of strangers, he will be dearly missed by the Manly community.
Learn more about his life in this interview between Richard Glover, Manly Observer Editor Kim Smee and Mario Geklik’s boss Memet Arslan on ABC Drive:
Scores of locals and Mario’s family gathered on the Manly Corso at midnight on Saturday to honour his memory, with a flute player and drummer providing the backdrop as attendees yelled out Mario’s most common catchphrase “OPA”!