A man with an "incisive yet gentle" personality, who was committed to his family - and who never met a body of water in which he couldn't swim or a vista he didn't want to paint - has been laid to rest after a "quietly extraordinary" life.
Dr Peter Vines was farewelled by family, friends, former patients and ex-colleagues at Tamworth City Uniting Church on Tuesday morning.
The former Tamworth obstetrician gynaecologist was remembered for his love of individuals and peoples, of learning and contributing, and of thinking, art and laughter.
Daughter Prue Vines told funeral-goers her father would be missed by her; her siblings Helen, Chris, Jenny and Geoffrey; the 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and particularly his great love and wife of 64 years, Kathleen.
"But we have been incredibly privileged to spend a long time with a man who really was for others," Professor Vines said.
Arthur Peter Vines was born in 1931 in Chatswood, and grew up in Dubbo and Campsie, "strong and athletic".
The Australian junior freestyle champion two years in a row, he also broke the senior championship record by 3.5 seconds and held the title for about 15 years.
The young Peter was even in the training squad for the 1948 Olympics, but gave that up when the family moved for his father's ministry.
He noticed Kathleen at swimming events - in which she kept coming last but just kept entering.
"It was typical of Dad to admire the effort more than the achievement," Professor Vines said.
Their love and respect for each other lasted throughout the decades.
"To be brought up in a household where your parents not only loved each other (and us) - but also respected and admired and enjoyed each other greatly - was wonderful."
Dr Vines had a "pattern" of returning to study time and again, first veterinary science and agriculture, then medicine, then a specialty in tropical medicine.
He was awarded a doctorate of medicine before completing a residency in obstetrics and gynaecology and moving to Tamworth.
"This was really his second career, and Dad loved obstetrics," Professor Vines said.
"He never got over the thrill of a new baby, and he enjoyed collecting what women said about their baby when they first saw it ...
"After he retired, it took him two years before he could believe he wasn't going to be called out after he went to sleep.
"His farewell gift from the nurses at Tamara was a mobile, which still hangs outside Mum and Dad's door - it is made of obstetric instruments and tinkles nicely."
Keith Hollebone, now also a longtime ob-gyn, worked with Dr Vines after the former started as a visiting medical officer at Tamworth hospital in the late 1990s.
Dr Vines was then a staff specialist at the hospital part-time, and "a wiser man I'm yet to meet in terms of his practical experience", Dr Hollebone said.
"He was brilliant ... I enjoyed his company because he was obviously a highly intelligent man and had a very incisive type of personality - but was very gentle with it."
Dr Hollebone said Dr Vines had been "a very impressive man in a very quiet way".
Career twists and turns
Dr Vines' career adventures included moving with Kathleen and a 15-month-old Prue to Papua New Guinea, where he was the medical officer for a district of 10,000 people.
He travelled by boat to visit many patients.
"The hospital was very basic and he had an operating theatre that the chooks had to be moved from each time they needed it," Professor Vines said.
"If he ran out of sutures, he would get fishing line from the local trade store."
Back in Sydney, Dr Vines completed his diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene, then the family returned to PNG, this time to Okapa in the Eastern Highlands.
"Again things were not sophisticated and supplies were iffy," Professor Vines said.
With a snakebite victim - and no anti-venene - on hand one day, the doctor radioed counterparts in a nearby town.
They flew some anti-venene to him, dropping the vial out of the plane - using a parachute made of a handkerchief - while Dr Vines waited on the airstrip outside the hospital.
"[He] caught it and treated the man, who survived."
Dr Vines' many other accomplishments included obtaining a World Health Organisation fellowship to study epidemiology at the Centre for Communicable Diseases in Atlanta.
Back once more in PNG, he worked as the government epidemiologist, studying the highlands, mainland and island populations.
"He and his team literally walked up and down mountains and used dugout canoes, tractors, landrovers, and many light aeroplanes to get to places," Professor Vines said.
"Our home movies are full of pictures of people spitting into bottles and giving blood, which was sent for analysis in bamboo tubes."
Mrs Vines was instrumental in all these achievements, Professor Vines said.
"Dad's career was very much only achievable because of Mum's backing and willingness to make it happen", she said - including the "bold move" but "joint decision" to first move to PNG.
Indeed, after Dr Vines completed the epidemiology survey, his wife did all the graphs for the thesis.
The PNG Department of Health published it as a book, which is "still the baseline survey used by epidemiologists in PNG and other tropical places like Indonesia", Professor Vines said.
"All these achievements and this seriousness of purpose could have made Dad an overbearing or unbearable person, but Dad was actually very humble, and his sense of humour could overwhelm him," she said.
"He had a very quick wit, right up to the end, and a sense of mischief."
Dr Arthur Peter Vines died on May 22, peacefully at home and surrounded by family, at the age of 88 years.