Sturt Public School's first principal has been remembered as a loving husband, adored father, a true gentleman, and a community stalwart.
Noel Collison passed away at his home in Wagga on Friday, aged 90.
The educator graduated from Newcastle Teachers College in 1950 and began teaching English at Greta Migrant Camp.
His lengthy and dedicated career saw him teaching in primary and high schools around NSW, including Wagga, Gilgandra, Broken Hill, Tooleybuc, Central Tilba, Cobargo, and Tahmoor.
His wife of more than 60 years, Cynthia, said Noel commenced his role at Sturt Public school in 1973.
"Transferring from a school that had just celebrated its centenary, the irony of beginning anew was not lost on him," she said.
"He now found himself responsible for the establishment of a school which was a school in name only."
Cynthia said her husband's vision of creating the ideal environment for children to thrive was embodied by his suggestion that the Sturt's Desert Pea would make a fitting emblem for the school.
She said this native flower has a unique characteristic of flourishing only when conditions are ideal, a perfect ethos for a new school.
"With new modern buildings, dedicated teachers, a supportive P&C and a caring community, all the elements were present, creating the ideal conditions for students to thrive," Cynthia said.
"Over the years, Noel remained in contact with many of the original teaching staff and members of the founding P&C Association who shared this journey."
Noel and Cynthia were active in the Wagga community for many years, and Noel was at one time the secretary of the Wagga Tigers Football Club.
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They were both members of the Wesley Uniting Church and life members of the Wagga Family History Society.
Noel and Cynthia moved to Picton in 1985, where he decided to retire three years later.
He continued chasing his interest in family history. The couple were members of The Oaks Historical Society, where Noel wrote several books and articles documenting the rich past of the Wollondilly area.
In 2012, they returned to Wagga as they had always planned and enjoyed an active life in their local community.
Noel is survived by his wife of 62 years, Cynthia, his three daughters, Cecily, Verity and Louise, his eight grandchildren, one great-grandson and was eagerly looking forward to the birth of second great-grandchild due in September.
"Noel will be remembered by all who knew him as a loving husband, beloved father, as a true gentleman and a friend to many," Cynthia said.
The funeral for Noel Collison will be held this Thursday at 10.30am at the Wesley Uniting Church in Wagga.
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