A FAREWELL for Mitta Valley stalwart Kevin Giltrap is expected to be one of the biggest seen in the area for years.
A driving force of the Mitta Muster and a former Tallangatta shire president, Mr Giltrap died on Tuesday, aged 86.
Dartmouth publican John Scales yesterday described Mr Giltrap, the father of six — Michael, Scott, Dawn, Andrew, Hugh and Matthew — grandfather of 19 and great-grandfather of six — as “a friend beyond belief”.
“He was a person who had the Mitta Valley in his heart,” he said.
“The valley was second-to-none for Kevin and he protected it as strongly as he possibly could.”
Above all that, he was known as a “wonderful” family man.
Mr Scales said Mr Giltrap — a friend “as close as peas in a pod” to his own late father, Colin — was “a guiding light behind the success stories that are his sons and daughter”.
Towong mayor Mary Fraser was saddened to learn of the death of her former colleague from the days of the old Tallangatta shire council, on which he served 13 years until 1992.
Mr Giltrap was shire president when she joined that council back in the 1980s.
“I’ve been a friend of his for a long time, both he and his wife, Joy,” she said.
“He was a charming man and he was very agreeable and supportive of his community.”
Cr Fraser said the Mitta Valley riding that Mr Giltrap had represented was a significant part of the old shire.
“He was a very nice man. I always enjoyed working with Kevin.”
Mr Scales said: “Joy is going to miss him sorely but the valley is a wonderful place. It will get right behind the family and offer them as much support as it can.”
Mr Scales said the valley had been good to Mr Giltrap’s family and the family had been great supporters of the valley.
“It is a special place and the people in it are a very special breed who protect their own little patch,” he said.”
Mr Scales said Mr Giltrap was involved in so much — “he was very strong on the Mitta school committee”.
“Not so much the footy club — he left that to the boys — but he did play football for Mitta and he played in premierships with them in the ’50s,” he said.
With the muster, Mr Giltrap was known as someone who “set the example” for other volunteers.
“He went out and chased sponsors and, when the rest of us saw Kevin doing that, we were all prepared to do the same thing.”
Mr Scales said Mr Giltrap was a tireless community worker and a fine man, strong and sincere.
“You always wanted Kevin on your side. He was one of those guys who drove everyone on to better things.”
A funeral service for Mr Giltrap will be held at the Mitta Hall, Omeo Highway at Mitta on Monday at 11am, with refreshments at the hall to follow.