Tamworth journalist Gary Ruddick has been remembered as a "craftsman and a wordsmith".
The long-serving Northern Daily Leader reporter, columnist and editor passed away in Ipswich on August 20 after a decade's steady decline in health. He was 81.
Mr Ruddick, who became an icon of Tamworth, was born in Mildura on April 5 1939.
Raised in Ballarat, he spent his early career working at a number of mastheads in country Victoria, including Albury's Border Mail.
But in 1974 he started a 34-year career at the Northern Daily Leader. When he penned his last word for the paper in 2008 he had served as journalist, columnist and editor of the weekly insert North West Magazine, among other roles.
He was perhaps particularly well known for columns that were often the bane of the local National Party. His weekly Ruddick on Monday current affairs column was a popular Leader feature but caused regular headaches for then party leader and Member for New England Ian Sinclair.
His wife Pauline Ruddick told the Leader this week colleagues would head into work early on Monday mornings because the column would reliably stir up both controversy and a barrage of phone calls to the office.
Son, John Ruddick, has followed in his father's footsteps and is a conservative columnist and author.
Gary Ruddick was also instrumental in creating the Leader column Your Church In Action, which still runs in the paper.
At one point Mr Ruddick's likeness was even used as advertising for the paper on the side of the Tamworth bus service.
Former Leader journalist, business partner and corporate affairs director Pete Smith said Gary Ruddick was among the last of a vanishing brotherhood of print journalists and certainly the last of some of the industry's characters.
"During his early days at the Leader, Gary worked through the industry-wide transition from the chattering of century-old hot lead Linotype and Ludlow production through to the computerised process enjoyed today," he said.
"As with Leader journalists today, Gary lived in the city in which his words were published and stood accountable for his work. He was a craftsman and a wordsmith."
Mr Ruddick is survived by his wife of 55 years, Pauline, and his children Clive, political commentator John, daughter Helen and their respective spouses and children.