Geoff Dingle, a long-time resident of Medowie and former Port Stephens councillor, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 69.
A highly respected community volunteer and Scout leader, Mr Dingle spent 14 years on the council representing the Central Ward.
He retired from the political sphere after losing the popular mayoral vote in 2017.
Mr Dingle lived in Medowie for 40 years with his wife Libby and children.
The couple were passionate about volunteering and believe there is "no better reward in life than to freely volunteer in support of the community".
Mrs Dingle told the Examiner that her husband was first and foremost a family man and described him as being the "local" in local government.
"He was happy to go in to bat for people he knew had been wronged," she said.
Mr Dingle died at 4am on New Year's Eve more than 18 months after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
A memorial service for Mr Dingle will be held sometime in January.
Friend of 30-plus years Fran Corner described Mr Dingle as a humble and dedicated person who worked many volunteer hours for his beloved community.
"Geoff was Medowie through and through. He was very partisan and displayed a high level of community leadership when it was needed," Ms Corner said.
"He fought a long battle with pancreatic cancer and underwent operations and treatment over the past 12 months or more.
"I believe Port Stephens Council should duly recognise his contribution to community and civic life. He will be sadly missed."
At the 2018 Australia Day awards ceremony, Mr Dingle was awarded the prestigious title of Freeman of Port Stephens for his extensive dedication to the community and more than 14 years service with the council.
In Scouts, he was awarded the second highest medal the Silver Emu - presented to adult members for further distinguished service.
Mr Dingle is a past member of the Hunter Regional Botanic Gardens board, member of the Hunter New England Health Advisory Panel, chair of the Koala Plan of Management Committee and a member of Medowie Sports Council, community centre committees in Medowie, Williamtown and Fern Bay and Medowie Public School P&C.
"Geoff was passionate about the protection of the environment and worked hard to promote the Gardens as a centre for research, education and knowledge sharing on botanical matters for the Hunter Region," the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens stated on Tuesday.
"Geoff has been described as a man of integrity and a hard worker who always fought for what was right. He will be missed by all at the Gardens."
Mr Dingle was an avid letter writer to the Examiner. His final letter published in the December 19, 2019 edition sharing his views on current councillor Giacomo Arnott being escorted by police out of the council chamber.