Well-known Warrnambool identity Ron Blackney, 91, was farewelled on Saturday in the church he helped build.
Ron, who passed away last week, has been remembered as "a great community man" whose achievements are too many to list.
He was known to his mates - who he used to love sharing a single malt whiskey with - as Basher because when he was asked to do something he would always say "I'll have a bash".
The surf lifesaving club, which he joined in 1947, was like a second family for Ron and his wife Pat who for 60 years opened their home every Christmas morning to their surf lifesaving friends.
Ron was president of the surf club for 12 years, helped form the Port Campbell surf lifesaving club and was also the foundation president of the Warrnambool Amateur Swimming Club.
He won three state championships for surf boat rowing and was selected to compete at the Australian championships in 1951 in Perth.
For more than 40 years he helped organise the one-mile Hopkins River fund-raising swim for the surf lifesaving club.
Ron, who in 1956 was part of a lifesaving exhibition event in Torquay for the Melbourne Olympics, got to light the cauldron in Warrnambool on his 70th birthday in 2000 when Sydney hosted the Olympics.
The couple raised three girls in the house that Ron built for them in the late 1950s. Ron operated commercial building business, Blackney and Thompson, from 1971 until 1992, which built Our Lady Help of Christian church which was where his funeral service was held. He used his building knowledge to serve nine years on the TAFE council developing apprenticeship pathways.
In the 1940s, Ron started playing basketball and later became involved in the administration of the association. The referees room at the former stadium on Queens Road was named after him.
"That was a great honour for him even though he never looked for accolades for anything," the family said. "He was always humbled by those gestures."
Ron also helped run the 200-team senior Seaside Basketball Tournament for more than 40 years.
Avid Essendon supporters, the couple would often take the 'Bombers' bus' to the footy in Melbourne well into their 80s.
"They had a really lovely life together," his daughters said. "He lived a full life and worked hard. You couldn't ask for a better dad."
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