Joseph Cordner – known as Greg to most people – was a knock-about bloke who loved his trucks, his golf and, most of all, his family.
He was a lifelong rugby league fan and Sydney Roosters supporter who started following the club when it was known as Eastern Suburbs – long before his nephew Boyd Cordner became the Roosters and NSW Blues State of Origin captain.
The 57-year-old’s family is remembering Mr Cordner, who tragically died after a four-vehicle crash near Stockton on Tuesday afternoon, as a loving husband and father.
His wife Debbie, daughter Kayla and son Mathew said on Wednesday Mr Cordner was “loved by all his family and friends”.
In a statement to the Newcastle Herald, they said the family was “deeply saddened and still very much in shock of his tragic passing”.
Mr Cordner – a truck driver by trade, just like his father – was travelling north on Nelson Bay Road across the Stockton Bridge about 3.45pm on Tuesday when two south-bound vehicles collided and crashed into his ute and another north-bound vehicle.
He suffered critical burns and died at the scene.
A police investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Originally from Old Bar, near Taree, Mr Cordner and his family moved to Port Stephens more than two decades ago, his nephew Dane said on Wednesday.
Dane said his uncle was “a man’s man” who always put his family first.
“He was all about his family, doing what he had to do for his family and enjoying a beer after golf with his mates,” he said.
“He loved driving trucks, he pretty much worked for his weekend and didn’t live a complicated life. It was just work hard, enjoy your weekends and family comes first – that’s what Greg was about.”
Dane, Mr Cordner’s brother Chris and another of his nephews had a beer at Tanilba Bay Golf Club on Wednesday with Greg’s mates, in honour of the 57-year-old.
Mr Cordner’s was a regular face at the club.
“They said he hit ‘em alright, he hit ‘em pretty good,” Dane said. “The boys were saying he loved his golf and he’d come up for a beer but depending whether the Roosters won or lost – if they won he’d … have a bigger smile than usual.”
The family wanted to express their thanks to the Tanilba Bay community for its care and support since Tuesday afternoon.
Police are calling for witnesses to Tuesday’s crash to come forward.