Kiama Christ Church was packed with 80 people who mourned a loving relative and honoured a devoted friend, Tony Matterson, at a funeral service on Thursday.
The former town clerk refused to take home a salary for three months while the council worked through cashflow problems.
Kiama Council was in a “fairly dire financial position” when he took the job in 1973, and under his stewardship, the tide turned.
To this day, without knowing, Kiama residents have benefited from the legacy he has left.
The town developed and flourished, he obtained funding to build the library, a new council building, parks and public toilets.
But the greatest imprint he left, was on his family.
He died peacefully on Monday, aged 89.
His children, Dianne, Peter, John and Judie, paid tribute to their father, and recalled fond childhood memories, remembered as a selfless, fun, responsible and humble family man.
“You many have known our wonderful, wise, hardworking dad in a professional capacity, we remember him differently,” Dianne said.
“He was someone who loved singing in the car at the top of his lungs.
“On weekends, we didn’t know where he was taking us, he would just point the car and go, we’d spend days by the riverbank, swimming while he’d set up the BBQ and cook lunch.”
Tony’s friends laughed and shed tears through the service.
“He wouldn’t sell the Kingswood until all four of us had learnt to drive, he said there was no point wrecking two gearboxes,” Dianne said.
“He was a bit of a joker. We spent many holidays on the coast, and dad would take us fishing. We would never catch anything bigger than tiddlers, but one day, dad found a big, dead fish on the beach, and thought it might be a good idea to put it on the line and trick mum back at the caravan. Well, mum knew. It didn’t make it onto the plate.”
Judie said an emotional farewell to her dad, whose organisational skills were second to none.
“He did whatever needed to be done without complaining,” she said.
“He left us instructions for the funeral, including 10 attachments.”