In different roles as the publican and chief fundraiser for Whorouly over more than 20 years, Karen Chetcuti had become the heart of the town.
She and partner Tony first moved to Whorouly in 1993 to take over the local pub.
It would be the start of a special connection between Karen and the town and lead to many strong friendships.
Whorouly’s Lance White remembered 1993 was the year of a serious flood, which left people stranded away from home.
He happened to be stuck at the pub and his reaction was “brilliant”.
“Tony and Karen fed us, we had a few drinks… she found pillows and blankets and we spent the night there on the floor,” Mr White said.
Even when she moved on to a new job at Wangaratta Council, she remained close to Whorouly and finally bought a farm in 2013 complete with her first set of cattle.
“She told me that she moved back so her kids could grow up in a community where we looked after one another and where it was safe for her kids,” Mr White said.
“She will be terribly missed by everyone.”
The setting for the funeral was Whorouly Recreation Reserve, a location looking so good in part because of the hard work of Karen.
Whorouly Memorial Park committee member Jack Harrington said Karen was treasurer for nine years and was invaluable to the town, from choosing the best design for a new playground to tirelessly raising money.
“Although a busy mum and full-time employee of the Rural City of Wangaratta, Karen was totally dedicated to our committee and her role,” he said.
“Potholes at the rec or in Church Street only required an email to Karen and they were filled.”