JACK Eames, a World War II veteran and Wodonga Bulldogs' star footballer, has died, aged 94.
One of the city's most well-known identities, Eames rose to the rank of sergeant after joining the Army Ordnance Corp in 1941 and served in New Guinea where he is credited with helping establish three spare parts units.
He was discharged in 1946 and immediately joined VFL club Richmond despite still being based on the Border.
Eames played 14 senior matches for the Tigers and famously hopped aboard the Spirit Of Progress train each Saturday morning to travel to Melbourne and play.
Often there would be no seats available on the train and he was forced to stand until spots became available at Seymour.
One of his fondest memories at Richmond was playing in a drought-breaking win against Collingwood at Victoria Park under legendary coach Jack Dyer.
Eames was appointed coach of Wodonga in 1947 and spent four seasons in the role before retiring as a player in 1952.
A centre half-back in the Bulldogs’ Team of the Century, Eames played 88 matches for Wodonga which included a Morris Medal-winning season in 1949 after finishing third and second in the previous two seasons.
The 1949 season was marred by tragedy for the Bulldogs when star young player Ted West and two committeemen, Harold Phefley and Robert Howlett, were killed in a bus crash on the return from a mid-season match at Wangaratta.
The team bus ploughed into a fruit truck which had broken down on the Hume Highway near Chiltern.
The Bulldogs recovered to make the grand final, but they lost to Wangaratta with the victory kick-starting four successive premierships for the Magpies.
A broken thumb late in the preliminary final forced Eames out of the grand final.
Even though he played only one season for Richmond, Eames kept close contact with the club and is credited with helping the Tigers recruit John Perry, Geoff Strang, Barry Richardson and Kevin Smith from the Ovens and Murray area.
Eames and his wife Lois, who died last year aged 92, were married for 70 years and are survived by two children, Ian and Sandra, and families.
His funeral will be held at Lester & Son funeral home, Wodonga, on January 27 at 2pm.