ALAN Lowe was many things to many people.
A volleyball enthusiast who helped introduce the sport to Warrnambool.
An avid fisherman who didn't eat fish. A black-and-white movie buff. A proud Tasmanian.
Loving husband to Margaret. Proud dad to Peter, Jenny and Gerard. Pop to seven. Grandpop to four.
Alan died on May 8, aged 90, leaving a lasting legacy.
"There were no airs and graces, he was just a good man," his son Peter said.
"At the wake, everybody who spoke told the same stories - what you saw was what you get and everybody saw the same Alan Lowe.
"He was no different with his closest friend or the person he met on the street."
Alan was a visionary and, with a group of passionate like-minded people, was crucial to the Warrnambool Volleyball Association's berth in the 1960s.
He helped create the annual Warrnambool Seaside Volleyball Tournament, now in its 48th year, and used his maths skills to develop a draw "using pencils and paper".
"Early on the YMCA globally started to promote volleyball as a sport for people who didn't want to play basketball," Peter recalled.
"He and his mates here thought it was a good idea to introduce it as part of the curriculum at the YMCA, back when it was in Henna Street, down stairs on a concrete floor.
"They started it and persisted with it and it took off, slowly but surely. Still to this day the seaside carnival is probably the biggest volleyball tournament in Australia.
"It used to have teams from South Australia, New South Wales and ACT."
Alan - a former association president and its first life member - played as did his family with Peter going onto represent Australia.
"On the honour board is a list of all the life members and local volleyball players who have gone on to play for the state and internationally and the list is quite long," Peter said.
"So from him and his buddies starting volleyball here, there's a large number who have gone on to play for Victoria and Australia.
"They all owed their start in volleyball to dad."
Alan, who went on a tour to Korea as the Australian junior team's manager and attracted international sides to play in Warrnambool, was a meticulous planner - a trait which was integral when organising the seaside carnival.
"I remember them planning the draw, because no one had a computer or Excel spreadsheets, so they planned it all with pencils and paper," Peter said.
"They had to manage 80-something teams over three days and account for this team which was coming from South Australia so they couldn't play before 10 and this team that was coming from Swan Hill and you had to give them time to train."
Peter said it was humbling to see the legacy his dad, who was also a Warrnambool City councillor in the early 1980s, had left on the sport.
"My son (Mackenzie) came down to play the other day at the seaside carnival and he walked in and all these people were waving at him and he's pretty competitive, he's played nationally and internationally, and kept competitors at arms length as it were," he said.
"He's like 'why are they waving at me?' and he worked out Pop was behind him and they were all waving to Pop and saying g'day.
"He said 'Pop, I have to go and warm-up, I can't keep stopping here'. He'd leave him there and he'd still be there talking to people an hour-and-a-half later."
Dawn Fary, who was heavily involved with Warrnambool Volleyball Association, was one of those people who enjoyed a long friendship with Alan. She knew him for more than 50 years.
"He was a real gentleman," she said.
"They are the sort of life-long friends you make over a period of time."
Alan was born in Devonport, Tasmania on November 4, 1931.
He met wife Margaret in Camperdown and they were married in 1955.
They soon settled in Warrnambool, raising their three children.
Peter said his dad was a talented sportsman and played football for Hamilton and Camperdown but was left to rue the impacts on rheumatic fever he suffered in childhood.
"He learned to play in a town in Tasmania called Queenstown and he said 'that's how you learn not to fall over, to play on stone and rock'," he said.
"He was invited to train with Fitzroy in his day."
Both Peter and sister Jenny Begley recall their parents being ideal hosts with no one leaving after a visit without a coffee and a slice of cake, such was their community-orientated spirit.
"He was a true gentleman. He was kind, very quiet," Jenny said.
"They were very hospitable, he and mum. Very rarely could anyone visit without them getting something given to them to take home.
"He was very entertaining for us and visitors with card tricks and disappearing coins.
"He'd make a mouse out of a handkerchief and it would run up arms and scare so many people."
Volleyball organisation was a big part of Alan's life but he always found time for his other passion - fishing.
He fished until a few weeks before his death and loved throwing in a line at different areas across the south coast, with Killarney being a favourite spot.
Any catches were passed on, often to neighbours.
"He thinks he spent about nine years of his life in hospital with rheumatic fever in primary and secondary school," Peter said.
"He went to hospital in Sydney and they served fish all the time and you could imagine what steamed fish would've been like, so he never ate fish.
"I remember going out for dinner one night and he stared at me in disbelief as I paid for calamari.
"He'd say 'we catch that to use as bait, why would you pay good money to eat it?'"
Alan was laid to rest in Camperdown - his wife's home town - last Friday.
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