PUBLICLY, Maurie Chick would probably have played down the pomp and ceremony of his funeral at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Albury on Thursday.
But privately he would have been delighted at the celebration of his life that his family provided him.
And chuckled at the many stories of his life as told by his son Alan in a humorous but respectful — if not irreverent — eulogy of his father.
Particularly as it was his company that rebuilt the church after it was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1990 and that the spire that now adorns it was designed, constructed and donated to the church by him in memory of his late parents Alf and Eleanor.
And he would have been proud that people from all walks of life — politicians, councillors, business people, tradies and his many friends and acquaintances — were on hand to hear of his remarkable achievements and exploits.
Co-celebrant Fr Kevin Flanagan, a friend of Mr Chick for many years, was with him and his family on the night he died.
Not surprisingly they had an impromptu wake shortly after.
Fr Flanagan encouraged the congregation to embrace “characters” like Mr Chick.
“There was a time when how successful a town was going was judged by how many pubs it had in it,” he said.
“In modern times perhaps communities are judged more by the number of characters who live in it, those people who rise above the humdrum of life and make our own lives more colourful.
“Maurice was a man of character and personality, distinguished by his ‘well-roundedness’, if I can use that term; roguish, full of vitality and good humour, who embraced life and lived life.
“We should embrace their distinctiveness and their refusal to conform to the norm, open our hearts to them.”
Mr Chick’s granddaughter Stacey, in her eulogy, described him as a man of contradictions but also consistency.
Which goes some way to explaining why Fr Flanagan was there in the first place.
Mr Chick married his wife Marjie, after she left the Catholic Church — from which she was then excommunicated — to be able to marry her great love, a non-Catholic.
“But there was never any lasting hatred for the Catholic Church or its priests,” Fr Flanagan later said.
Mr Chick was best-known for the many building projects his company, AB and MA Chick Pty Ltd, constructed in the region.
His accomplishments were recorded in the book “Just a local builder... Maurice Chick looks back”, written by Jan Hunter, which was distributed at the service.
But Fr Peter MacLeod-Miller spoke about a different sort of builder.
“Maurice built the council chambers and he built this church,” he said.
“But he was also a builder of friendships and family — and someone who built a special place in the hearts of those who loved him.
“He was someone who encouraged others to really ‘go for it’, someone who loved beautiful music and things.”
Put simply, he was larger than life as shown in the many stories told by his son in his eulogy.
“When dad went to school, 14 years and four months was the minimum age for leaving school,” Alan Chick said.
“At this time Maurice and Albury High School reached an agreement — the school didn’t like Maurice and Maurice hated the school.”
Maurice subsequently became indentured as an apprentice to his father at the age of 15 years, later becoming his partner and subsequently buying out his father’s share in the, now, proprietary company.
Alan relayed many of his father’s hilarious exploits, often performed in the company of equally hard-working, hard playing men and business associates such as the late Dal Delaney.
Mr Chick was a pilot, golfer, ten pin bowler (he owned the Albury Bowling Centre for many years), fisherman, snow skier — particularly the off-slope elements according to Alan — horse racing enthusiast, duck shooter and much more.
“Maurice brought the sport of duck shooting inside — and covered the hole in the ceiling with a chandelier,” Alan recounted.
Later Mr Chick became a revered member of the Albury Club and a corner of the bar was permanently reserved for his gang of four — himself, Dal Delaney, Alan Foster and Arch McLeish — later to become formally known as the Grumpy Old Men.
At the end of the day perhaps the thing that stood out was the family chose for one of its members Tom Strong to sing the Frank Sinatra classic My Way.
And that pretty much summed up Maurice Chick’s remarkable life.