It took 18 months for Ron and Jenny Ducie to fall in love and get married in the '50s.
But when young Mrs Ducie first met her husband he was just her brother’s 21-year-old soldier mate.
Almost 60 years on, Mrs Ducie stood alongside her three children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild to farewell the love of her life.
While some residents knew Ron Ducie as just Duce, others will remember him as “Big Duce”, “Trooper Duce” or “Lieutenant Colonel Ducie”, “Sir”, “Ron”, “Dad”, and “Granddad”.
But whatever the name, everyone knew Ron as a larger-than-life character, who had an even larger impact on those around him.
“He was very caring, he was honest and he was dedicated,” Mrs Ducie said. “He cared a lot about the community and about helping people.”
Ron – a Vietnam War veteran – was one of those men who stood out in a crowd, according to his wife. He was also the sort of man to never give up.
Mrs Ducie said her husband was “downright stubborn”.
“He was a very determined man,” Mrs Ducie said. “He never gave up.”
He was a very determined man.Jenny Ducie
He had too much zest for life to let doctors tell him he would not be able to lead an active life when he injured his back at 17 years of age.
One year on from his accident, Ron had proven the medical professionals wrong.
The young man was already an accomplished and a passionate sportsman, with a dream of joining the army and following in his father’s and older brother’s boots.
So Mrs Ducie said Ron had gritted his teeth and exercised every day for several hours, until the muscles and vertebrae were repaired. When the plaster was removed, the doctors were amazed at the transformation.
It was the same stubbornness that got Ron into the Australian Army as a soldier that same year.
When the he was knocked his back from becoming an officer, Ron kept applying until he was finally accepted. Three heart scares couldn’t even slow Ron down, according to his family.
Moving 23 times in 27 years had not been easy, according to Mrs Ducie, but she said Ron was home.
Included in Ron’s passion for the army, sports and his family, was a love of Wagga.
Coming full circle, Kapooka was Ron’s final posting as Deputy Commandant, before he retired in the ‘80s.
But nothing could keep Ron from working with servicemen and ex-servicemen, having been actively involved in Legacy and Rotary for years. Ron was also a member of the Carmelite Nuns, Probuskers and the Wagga Cathedral Choir.
“He loved to sing,” Mrs Ducie said. “Danny Boy was his favourite song … that was played at his funeral in May.”