ST Matthew’s Church was a poignant setting for World War II veteran Wally Moras’ funeral yesterday.
Mr Moras, who died suddenly last week, aged 90, married his wife of more than 60 years, Vera, in the same church after surviving four years of war including fighting off the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.
About 500 mourners including family, friends and ex-servicemen attended his funeral, which was held not far from Dean Street where Mr Moras had taken part in each Anzac Day parade since 1947.
Albury RSL sub-branch president Colin Darts said his absence would be noted next year.
“Anzac Day certainly won’t be the same without Wally leading the way,” he said.
Red poppies were handed out to mourners upon entering the church as a mark of respect to the sacrifice Mr Moras had shown since first enlisting to service his country as a 16-year-old from Daysdale.
Family members and ex-servicemen were invited to place poppies on Mr Moras’ coffin, draped with an Australian flag, his slouch hat and a Sydney Swans scarf.
The RSL tribute also included the Last Post.
Mr Moras’ grandson, former Sydney Swans captain Brett Kirk, was among the family members who delivered personal tributes about a humble hero and devoted family man.
“He was free of judgment and always thinking and caring about others,” Kirk said.
“He had that million- dollar smile and as he laughed you couldn’t help laughing with him.
“Pop thought the only way to work was to work hard.
“The harder you worked the luckier you got.
“He was the life of the party and always the last to leave.
“Family was everything to Pop.”
Mr Moras’ son Craig revealed the details of his father’s final hours last week when he suffered a heart attack.
He had showered and dressed before the regular visit by a respite nurse and was planning lunch at Brady’s Hotel before experiencing chest pains.
“He died with dignity at home. It was his wish,” Mr Moras said.
The funeral was co-conducted by Father Peter Macleod-Miller from St Matthew’s Anglican Church and Father Kevin Flanagan, a close mate, from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
“One of my enduring memories will be his life lived face,” Father Flanagan said.
“His eyes also embraced life; they twinkled when he came across people he knew.
“We are richer for knowing Wally and poorer for his passing.”