The death has occurred in Taree's Manning Base Hospital of Edwin Frank Fardell, aged 94, returned serviceman of World War II and one of the last of the disappearing hot metal men of the newspaper publishing industry.
You only get one good man come into your life like Frank, and then you are fortunate.
As a young man, he was such a dancer they called him "Mr Wonderful", women loving him for his ballroom magic.
He became a ballroom tutor and later a square dancer of renown.
As a neighbour and friend, none was better, none more considerate, never one to complain or condemn, ever willing to help or shout a bottle of wine.
Frank's mother lost her husband early.
As a single mum, she lived in the Manly-Warringah area in Sydney.
At 14, Frank left school to become a telegram delivery boy.
On one occasion he delivered on the same day separate telegrams informing a mother her two sons had perished in World War II.
Each day, a newspaper delivery boy walked across a field near the Fardells' home, leading Frank's mother to enquire about the whereabouts of his office.
Mrs Fardell obtained work for Frank at the Manly Daily, cleaning up the office, filling the ink wells and replacing nibs in the pens, all the menial work, too exhausting for journalists.
Gaining an apprenticeship as a printer, Frank decided in his first year to go to war.
It was 1943 and he was 19.
With World War II ending, he joined what was called the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, (BCOF), a group of men banded together from nations throughout the British Commonwealth.
They were despatched to Japan only weeks after the United States dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The men roamed through the city of Hiroshima like tourists, without thought to wearing protective clothing, which makes the subsequent decades of Frank's healthy life all the more remarkable when so many his colleagues were dying from cancer and other physical impacts of the bomb.
The BCOF men's initial concerns that the Japanese residents would fire upon them were soon dispelled.
The bombs had had such a devastating impact on the Japanese that all the people wanted was food and shelter.
Frank said: "The people wandered the streets in rags, totally shell-shocked , with no thought of exchanging gunfire with us.
"Children were starving in the streets, begging for food and water.
"The people were pitiful and had no thought of fighting us."
Frank had 18 months in Japan and returned home to civilian life.
But as he recalled without bitterness:
"Thirty years passed before the Australian Government allowed us to take part in Sydney's Anzac Day march."
Frank had left the Manly Daily in the first year of his apprenticeship on the understanding he would be re-employed after the war.
He returned to work with the Manly Daily to become a fully qualified printer.
The people wandered the streets in rags, totally shell-shocked , with no thought of exchanging gunfire with us.Frank Fardell
But it was not a profession he really enjoyed, working long hours without just payment until he became a member of the Printers and Kindred Industries trade union, the PKIU, when he joined the Daily Telegraph, then under the ownership of Kerry Packer.
"I got a new life under Kerry Packer," he said.
"We all did."
Even though for some years Frank and I were both employees at The Australian newspaper, we never met until we became over-the-road neighbours in Forster in 2003, by which time both had retired.
Frank later declared: "I was a PKIU man, you were a journalist.
"We hot metal men had our standards.
"We did our usual work and then corrected your mistakes."
In those days in 2003, we would look over the valley in Forster and see an empty hillside with wind blowing the grasses in great waves as though blowing through wheat.
Gradually those fields were reduced by people buying blocks of land.
Now, two decades later, all you see is a vast hillside of homes, barely an empty block in sight.
As a printer and compositor, Frank experienced the immense production changes which transformed the newspaper industry, from its hot metal days as a compositor into the revolutionary age of the computer.
Frank met his future wife, Margaret, during the years of the Great Depression in Australia, the late 20s and early 30s.
Inconceivable though it is now, such was the poverty that thousands of people lived in a vast tent city on the coast near Dee Why.
Times were hard and kids grew up tough.
Frank had two fights on his first day at school.
He could not remember who won, but all he knew was he did not have a bloody nose or black eye, so he was able to defend himself.
No television then, of course. Instead, there were dances every week in Sydney where Frank was a charmer.
One woman who caught his eye was a young lady named Margaret.
They eventually married and had five children, only to their great sorrow, to lose two children at an early age,
Forster-Tuncurry has always been a township favoured by tourists for its beaches and lakes, its splendid climate and good fishing, then without the bridge now linking the two communities.
Frank and Margaret fell under its charm and settled in Forster.
It took three years but with one or two mates, Frank completed construction of his home, celebrating by carrying Margaret across the threshold.
He was admitted to hospital last week with severe heart palpitations and just when it appeared he was making a good recovery, he experienced a major heart attack and passed away quietly.
He is survived by his daughter, Lorinda, and two sons, Geoffrey and Greg, and five grandchildren, Scott, Brad, Emily, Cameron and Lachlan.
A cremation service for Mr Fardell will be held at Pampoolah this Thursday, March 4, at 11am. Allan Pearse Funerals, of Tuncurry, will officiate at the service.
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