THE late Ron Terry is being remembered as one of nature's gentlemen.
The Wagga community is mourning loss of Terry, who passed away on Sunday.
Terry was widely known, and respected, throughout the Riverina sporting community.
He was a life member at Wagga Tigers and Oaklands Football Club, and a regular across race tracks throughout the Southern District, particularly when following his son Donald through his riding career.
He was awarded life membership at Wagga Tigers alongside Barry Walker in 2018 following 15 years manning the gate at Robertson Oval.
Walker spent 12 of those years alongside him and can not speak highly enough of Terry.
"A true gentleman," Walker said.
"He was an absolutely superb gentleman. Probably one of the best men I've known for many, many years. Very sincere in what he said. You could believe what he told you, he was straight down the line.
"He's admired and respected by the whole of Wagga Tigers, I know that. Everybody used to say g'day and have a yarn to him. He was very respected by all, and all of the players as well."
Terry came to Wagga about 30 years ago after moving from the farm at Oaklands.
It was there he was a decorated footballer in his own right, winning six best and fairests at Oaklands, and was also runner up in the Coreen League in 1955.
Injury forced his retirement after 12 years, but he went on to be an 'active and generous' committeeman.
Racing would soon become one of Terry's great loves when his son Donald took up a career as a jockey.
He dabbled in horse ownership, having gallopers with Dave Heywood and John Maxwell, for only modest success. Fleeting Shadow was arguably his best.
It was following Donald throughout his career where Terry made many great memories and made a number of friends.
"He loved coming to the races," Donald recalled.
"He'd jump in the car with me and come to the races. The biggest thing was I'd have to say, 'Dad, the last race is at 5pm, be ready by 5.30 because we're going home'.
"I'd get out of the jockeys room and be 'where's dad'. You just wanted to get away in case someone didn't like your ride or something and I'd have to go over to the bar, and he'd say 'one for the road' and I'd say 'no way. I'm leaving now'.
"He really enjoyed his days at the races."
Bob Beasley was a friend of Terry's for 50 years. They spent many great times together and Beasley says he was like a brother to him.
"He loved life, Ron. He loved the pubs, he loved the races, he loved his trips to the bush. We went on quite a few trips together," Beasley recalled.
"A thorough gentleman. He loved his family, loved his life and loved a beer and a good time.
"When he left Oaklands, he had a farm down there, he was going to buy another farm but didn't and I think that's the best thing he could have done. He just went to the races with Don and loved it. He went to a lot of places he wouldn't have went."
Terry was a big supporter of the Wagga Boat Club and made a number of good friends there, like he did everywhere he went.
"Dad was a great lover of sport," Donald said.
"He was a very good footballer in his day. He just loved sport in general, really. Going to the races, socialising.
"I don't think you could find a person who would say a bad word about him."
He also took great joy in watching his grandsons play at Wagga Tigers.
"He loved his grandsons. He loved watching them play," Walker said.
Terry is survived by his wife Peg, his children Michael and Del, John, Shane, Donald, Susan and Peter, and Rose, and eight grandchildren.
A private funeral, due to COVID restrictions, will be held on Tuesday.
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