Respected long-time Wagga surgeon Peter Macneil has died at the age of 90.
Professor Macneil is being remembered as a devoted husband to Kate, a loving father of five, a true gentleman and a highly respected surgeon.
Daughter Genevieve Fleming said her father was a "true gentleman with a warm and genuine disposition, who always had a good joke ready to tell".
"My brothers and I were so lucky to have his unyielding love and caring guidance," Mrs Fleming said.
"Dad's 55-year marriage to my mother Kate was filled with love, laughter, wonderful friendships and fun. A wonderful role model and now a legendary example to his eight grandchildren, he will be very missed and never forgotten."
Mrs Fleming said her father introduced the family to snow and water skiing and taught his children to love the mountains as he did.
He played the trumpet, trombone, banjo, piano, euphonium, guitar, washboard, kazoo, tin whistle and more, and he instilled a love of music in his family.
Professor Macneil, who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), had a great sense of humour and loved a dress-up party, Mrs Fleming said.
Born in Kew, Melbourne, Professor Macneil pursued his medical studies in Australia, the United States and the United KIngdom before he and his wife settled in Wagga in 1964.
Professor Macneil practised as a general surgeon in Wagga for four decades, with professional appointments in Denmark as a visiting surgeon for four months, in Sumatra where he trained local doctors and surgeons and as a senior surgeon at the RAAF Base at Butterworth in Malaysia.
"A humble and eternally kind person, he always went above and beyond in his surgical duties, helping many people through challenging times with compassion and discretion," Mrs Fleming said.
"Dad was a selfless person who volunteered his time for a range of community causes from mental health, to prevention of farm injury, better surgical services in 'the bush' and Aboriginal health.
"In retirement he worked pro bono at Gove and Katherine hospitals, where he established specialist services to support those regions.
"He served as a long standing member of Rotary and was a champion for surgical services in country Australia, as the first regional Australian to be elected to the Royal College of Surgeons."
Dr Peter Macneil always had a passion for improving medical education, particularly for those who practised in what he called "the bush".
He was chairman of the Southern District Medical Association. He advocated for, and achieved, associate teaching hospital status for the Wagga Base Hospital with the Medical School of the University of NSW. He delivered regular guest lectures at Charles Sturt University and took an active interest in medical students involved in clinical rotations at Wagga Base.
He also established the Riverina Rural Health training unit and became its foundation medical director. The unit was recognised as one of the most successful of its type in NSW, providing medical students, doctors and health professionals with access to ongoing educational and training opportunities.
Professor Macneil also played a significant role in the development of higher education in the Riverina. In 1974 he joined the Council of the Riverina College of Advanced Education, holding a number of important positions including deputy chairman of council from 1977 to 1983.
He won the Louis Ariotti Award for Innovation and Excellence in Regional and Rural Health in 1997 and was awarded the College Medal from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1996, for services to regional and rural health.
In 1997, Professor Macneil was conferred with an honorary doctorate in health studies by Charles Sturt University.
The accompanying citation spoke of Professor Macneil's reputation as one of the leading surgeons in rural and regional Australia.