Neil Davis will always have a special place in the history of Yarrawonga Football-Netball Club as the coach of a famous against-the-odds Ovens and Murray league premiership in 1989.
The Pigeons were without a coach heading into the season after favourite son Les "Salty" Parish and the club's committee couldn't reconcile differences over the make-up of the match committee and turned to Davis in their hour of need.
Six months later they won the club's first premiership in three decades.
But, an event he instigated in 2001 would have wider implications for the Yarrawonga-Mulwala communities.
The Mulwala ADI munitions factory where he began working in the early 1970s was earmarked for closure, leaving 350 jobs in doubt and a pending economic body blow for the wider community.
Mr Davis is credited with coming up with the idea of a community march over the Lake Mulwala bridge to prove to the federal government the factory needed to be retained.
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The march went ahead on June 21 with an estimated 7000 people taking part and with further help of a petition containing more than 16,000 signatures, the government reversed its decision and agreed to a $200 million rebuild.
"He just wanted to save it for the community's sake," Mulwala Progress Association chairman and long-time friend Robert Purtle said.
"He said 'we can't let this happen to our towns and our families' and did something about it.
"It would have been a disaster for our two towns.
"Family and community were a huge part of his life.
"He was just an out and out gentleman and never said a harsh word about anyone."
On Saturday at the J.C. Lowe Oval, "Davo's Day" is being held with a wider celebration of his rich life which has included four daughters, Rebecca, Sarah, Kristy and Laura, being star netballers for the club.
Mr Purtle will be one of those to pay tribute to Mr Davis today with Robert Tait, Richie Mallows and 1989 Pigeons premiership player and former coach, Damian Sexton.
"He just had this ability to get the best out of a person," Mr Sexton said.
"The thing I remember vividly and what I miss most now, is you always got off the phone after speaking to him feeling better.
"I coached footy for a long time and coaching isn't easy and unfortunately there are more down than up times.
"But you could always ring 'Davo' and he would give you an honest opinion on how to approach a situation.
"It's why he was a great mentor to many of us."
Before his death, Mr Davis also organised an annual trip to the Wagga Gold Cup with a large contingent from the Yarrawonga-Mulwala heading to the race day on Friday.
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