Ararat Fire Brigade ex-captain Kingsley Walker, who served the CFA for over 75 years, has passed away at the age of 91 after suffering a stroke.
A funeral service for the "legend" was held on Monday with a restriction of 20 guests due to the COVID-19 regulations.
Ararat CFA Commander Ian Morley said 10 members from the fire brigade formed a guard of honour outside the service.
"The firetrucks flashing with red and blue lights led the hearse and the cortege to the cemetery. I think Kingsley would have appreciated that," he said.
"He was a long time friend. I joined the Ararat Fire Brigade back in 1978 and Kinglsey was the officer at the time - he was always friendly, inviting and passionate about all things fire brigade."
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Mr Morley said Mr Walker had great joy and pride from seeing junior members participate in brigade activities.
"He loved teaching people and he certainly knew how to enthuse people ... he led by example," Mr Morley said.
Mr Walker joined the Willaura Rural Fire Brigade during the Second World War, 1945. He then transferred to the Ararat Urban Fire Brigade in 1956.
"During his time at the fire brigade he was secretary, first lieutenant and also the captain between 1971 and 1973," Mr Morley said.
Mr Kingsley was the last remaining active member of the Ararat Fire Brigade to have been a firefighter at the old fire station in Barkly Street.
"In 1970 he marched with his comrades to the new fire station in Tuson Street and he lived to see the new fire station built and completed this year," Mr Morley said.
"It is a great shame that with COVID-19 we couldn't have our official opening for the new fire station ... obviously Kingsley was going to play a big part in that.
"He fitted a lot in to his 91 years of life. He had a lot of involvement in the community and built up a very good business, taking over from his father-in-laws hardware store E.W Bulte.
"It is in one of the oldest businesses in Ararat. Now Kingsley's son Peter runs the business."
Mr Morley said the fire brigade presented Mr Walker's family with a CFA shield and plaque to recognise Kingsley's 75 years of service and commitment.
"COVID-19 this year had been very difficult for a lot of people ... who knows how many people we might have had in a normal year, wanting to say their farewell," Mr Morley said.
"We thank the family for allowing us to pay our tribute as part of his fire brigade family.
"We are weaker as an organisation for having lost Kingsley, but we are stronger as people for having known him."
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