LEN Ryles spent most of his life driving trucks, so it was fitting he go to his final resting place on the back of his favourite rig with an Australian flag draped over the coffin.
The funeral procession from his workplace to Warrnambool cemetery yesterday was headed by seven trucks and honking horns celebrating him as an Aussie legend.
He spent a great portion of his 65 years driving trucks around south-west Victoria, mainly delivering water and dairy factory effluent to farms. As his long-time boss Rowdy Rentsch explained, Len lived for his job.
“I can’t ever remember his having a full weekend off,” Mr Rentsch said.
“He came in 1977 to paint a tractor for my late father and has been with us ever since except for a few years.
“I reckon almost every farmer and his dog would have known Len.
“He was the sort of fella who never wanted to let anyone down.
“Even if a farmer called at 2am for emergency water Len would jump out of bed and drive the water tanker there.
“As well as water, in his career he would have carted billions of litres of waste from the Fonterra and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter treatment plants for farm fertiliser.
“We took him nice and steady for his final trip. He was a true Australian legend.”
In the eulogy he was described as a self-taught jack-of-all trades and an adventurer in his young adult years.
He survived a high-voltage electric shock at the age of 13 and several car accidents.
“They tested his invincibility, but he kept pushing, always doing things his way,” mourners were told.
Mr Ryles, who had cancer, kept working until last month. He died on October 8.