Tamworth identity Ray Meers has been remembered as a man who loved God, his family, and his land, after the well-known local real estate agent passed away this week.
Mr Meers missed little in life, serving in the Air Force in WW2, and finding love in Barb after demobilisation.
But he is probably best-known for the real estate business he created in partnership with irrepressible colleague Geoff Shelton.
Born on July 19, 1923, Mr Meers learned to walk on the rich soil near Mendooran, but in the 1940s the RAAF taught him to fly. He never got an opportunity to serve overseas, travelling home to help with the harvest instead, and became a flight instructor after damaging his eyesight.
Post-war was tough. He camped in a tent on his soldier-settlement block at Baradine while another person occupied the shack that was to be his home.
But in the 50s he met local girl Barb Johnston on the dance floor and tennis court. After marrying they settled down to build their farm Berdeen.
His life was transformed in the 1960s when he overheard a friend say that God gives everyone a chance for a new start. Through bible study and church, together with Barb, Ray restarted his life with Jesus. The couple decided to start again physically as well, leaving the farm for a home in Calala and a job in Tamworth.
The Meers family devoted their life to help mentor and nurture young people in the Tamworth community as well, through the youth groups of their church. It wasn't unusual to see 40 young people at their home on a Friday night.
In the 1990s, Ray Meers finally retired, handing over the business and taking to a life committed to serving others - surprising many by becoming a gym junkie in his 70s. The couple used retirement to travel across Australia and occasionally overseas.
Ray Meers said goodbye to his beloved Barb in 2017 and he became an enthusiastic and vital part of the Nazareth House community, and was thankful of their devoted care for him.
He passed away on Wednesday July 29 after a short decline, after living to see his 97th birthday. He will be survived by three children, and their spouses, five grandsons and 11 great grandchildren.
His funeral will be held 10.30am on Monday. The service will be streamed online by the Trinity Church Tamworth YouTube channel.