Max Fleming was known as a bit of a larrikin who enjoyed a joke and a smile, but above all else, he was a friend in the truest sense, said fellow Kurrajong North Richmond Rotary Club's Paul Rogers.
A tireless worker for the his community, Mr Fleming died on July 15, just shy of his 91st birthday.
"Max Fleming was my friend and a friend of many in our community," Mr Rogers said. "He was also an exemplary Rotarian who has enhanced the image of Rotary through his commitment, integrity and excellence in his 46-plus years of vocation and service."
Mr Fleming joined Rotary in 1975 at Granville and service as that region's president on two occasions.
He was a member of the Kurrajong North Richmond branch for more than 20 years and was a Paul Harris Fellow with two sapphire pins for his continued service and contribution to the community, both locally and internationally.
Mr Fleming also served as District 9685 Secretary and on the District Youth Exchange Team. Together with his late wife, Wendy, the couple hosted a number of youth exchange students over the years.
Speaking of his friend, Mr Rogers said: "Max was a pilot - obtaining his licence at age 50 - and he liked fast cars, chocolates and a good red wine with company. He also loved a scruffy little mutt called Lucy who loved him very much.
"As well as being our immediate past Treasurer and strong advocate of the Rotary Foundation, Max has been heavily involved in the Hawkesbury community being on the board of the Hawkesbury Community Outreach Service (HCOS) and on the board of his local church (St Mark's Anglican Church Freeman Reach).
"He is very highly regarded by members of all three Hawkesbury Rotary Clubs, including Richmond and Windsor and he maintains close contact with several other Sydney clubs and the Rotary District 9685 office."
Kurrajong North Richmond Rotary was planning to celebrate Mr Fleming's 90th birthday last November (his actual birthday was July 27) with a special dinner in his honour.
Sadly, it had to be abandoned due to COVID restrictions. The event would have coincided with the club's 42nd birthday.
The milestone did not go unnoticed though, with Mr Fleming receiving congratulatory letters from Prime Minister, NSW Premier and state members of parliament.
"It is with great sadness that our Rotary Club mourns the death of one of its most widely respected leaders," Mr Rogers said.
"No matter the office in Rotary he was called to serve or the title he bore, the most distinguished mark of his service in Rotary was his friendship. None will forget the twinkle in his eye - the smile that acknowledged someone's happiness or great accomplishment. Or his head bowed in pain at the great sorrow in seeing the children and their families suffer in places like West Papua for the lack of fresh drinking water.
"None of us will ever forget how much he enjoyed a good story nor how much he enjoyed telling one of his own - and he had a few.
"I know I am but one among so many who can say Max was one of my dearest friends. I admired him. I learned much from him. I was encouraged by him. I was challenged by him. I appreciated his wisdom borne of many years in this life and in Rotary. I was grateful of his counsel."
Mr Fleming is survived by children Sandra Shea and Tim Fleming and granddaughter Bethany.