City mourns favourite son

THOSE wanting to hail a taxi in Wangaratta early on Saturday might have encountered some delays.

It’s something regular cab users would have expected. The funeral of one of the city’s most well known and charismatic cabbies, Barry Love, was being held.

Mr Love died suddenly last week, aged 65, after a stroke.

More than 20 of his colleagues formed a guard of honour outside the Mason Park Funerals chapel for the man who had driven taxis in Wangaratta for more than 40 years, as his coffin was lifted into the back of a maxi-cab for the short drive to the cemetery.

Friends and clients he had driven around town for decades joined his family members, swelling the ranks of mourners to more than 200.

Wangaratta Taxis director Barry Sullivan had the honour of driving the coffin to the grave site.

Daughter Michelle carried her father’s cap and a taxi roof light.

Mr Sullivan said the city’s taxi drivers would miss their mate.

“It was his boyish, jovial manner I will remember most,” Mr Sullivan said. “I worked with him for more than 20 years.

“He was a larrikin, but an extremely caring individual.

“Driving taxis was his life. He will be missed.”

Son Wayne said he was well aware of the high regard customers had for his father.

“I am 42 and he has been driving since I was a pup,” he said.

“He certainly touched a lot of lives.”

Another son, David, delivered the family tribute along with grandchildren, Eliza and Sophie.

Michelle Love fought back tears as she read a poem devoted to her father’s memory.

He had three other children, Peter, Stephen (deceased) and Paul.

Mr Love was born in Queensland before his family moved to Eldorado.

They moved to Wangaratta soon after, and mourners heard of a boy who would prefer to help out at the saleyards than to attend school.

He played football and tennis and at one stage held down three jobs to support his family.

Mr Love was a lifelong Collingwood supporter and named one of his dogs after the late Darren Millane, who was killed in a car smash a year after the Pies’ 1990 premiership win.

The club’s theme song was played as his coffin was lowered into his grave.

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