Joe Wooding OAM had a link to cricket royalty.
Now that won't surprise anyone who knew him as he was farewelled in front of up to 450 people at Albury's St Matthew's Anglican Church on Thursday. He died on February 6, on his 82nd birthday, after a short battle with cancer.
"His ancestors owned an estate in London and sold it to a gentleman who converted the duck pond into a cricket pitch. His name was Thomas Lord," Greg Ryan said in his eulogy.
Lord's Cricket Ground is the game's home and the sport was Joe's great passion.
In fact, his mum sent him to practice cricket matches at Newmarket to keep him on the "straight and narrow" as a child.
"Little did Joe or his mother know the pleasure that sport was to bring Joe," Mr Ryan said.
He played in the Albury and Border Cricket Association for 29 years, captaining East Albury for a decade and leading the club to the first grade premiership in 1974-75.
An all-rounder, he represented ABCA at Country Week for six years and then managed the team for almost a decade, including the provincial win at the MCG in 1990.
He was a selector for two decades, an umpire for slightly longer, a curator for 12 years and compiled arguably the most comprehensive local cricket book in Australia.
"Joe's book, 150 Not Out 1858-2007, will tell you everything you've ever needed to know about local cricket," Mr Ryan said.
He was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for his services to cricket in 2017.
Joe loved being part of a team, spending his last 35 working years with the Murray River County Council, the last 15 as electrical inspector.
He held an incredible seven life memberships, including Cricket Albury-Wodonga, where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Joe became part of another outstanding team after a blind date in March, 1980, ironically, at a cricket dinner.
"It must have been a success because at the end of the evening Joe, being the true romantic, said, 'OK, same place, same station (Jill) next week," Mr Ryan said of that first meeting.
Joe and Jill were married just five months later in August.
"Above all, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. I can scarcely remember a single thing that they did not do together as a team, if Joe was there, Jill would be right beside him," Mr Ryan said.
The pair was stalwarts of Albury-Wodonga & District Orchid Club.
The couple moved in April, 2015, and Mr Ryan raised the question of how the orchids would survive.
"By two or three months, their backyard was an oasis with a brand new temperature and humidity-controlled glasshouse, which was imported from England," he said.
"Any building project being taken on by Joe was guaranteed to be cyclone proof."
Joe was also a long-serving committee member of the Albury & District Historical Society, along with Jill.
"Joe loved Albury and everything about our city," current president Mr Ryan, who took over from Joe in the top role, said.
"On the society's Facebook page, one post caught my eye, it said Joe was a walking encyclopedia of Albury knowledge.
"None of us in the society will forget Joe's obsession with finding out the most obscure, sometimes trivial facts, to complete an article (for The Border Mail).
"Joe never found the facts trivial, they were important pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle."
He spent hours at the Albury Library Museum.
"He badgered people at state and national libraries, looking for obscure facts, he was relentless," Mr Ryan said.
"Joe loved to puzzle us at society meetings with his questions of the month. Wedged between the southern end of St Matthew's and Albury Post Office is a locked and rarely used door, what is its significance?
"Everything he's ever been involved with, he tackled in the same way.
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"He was meticulous, some might say obsessive, he was committed and he was passionate."
When Joe's coffin was wheeled out, the former Channel Nine cricket jingle was played, drawing a laugh from the congregation.
It would have been music to Joe's ears.
Joe is survived by wife Jill, daughter Tracie and Guy, son Brad and Amanda and stepfather of Catherine (dec), Chris and Lyn and eight grandchildren.
- The Border Mail attended the celebration of Joe's life with the permission of the Wooding family