Canberra catering maven Wendy Hudson, who died this week after battling cancer, has been remembered as a uniquely kind personality.
Ms Hudson, who was 65, was well known in the hospitality industry as the owner of Hudsons Catering with her ex-husband and business partner Brian.
They also ran a string of cafes and restaurants in Canberra for decades, including the cafe at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, two cafes at the Australian War Memorial, two delis, a cafe in Dickson and a fine-dining restaurant at Hawker.
Brian Hudson said he was devastated at his former wife's death.
He said Ms Hudson had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and had battled the disease since. She died on Tuesday.
"All the staff are devastated of course, and both myself and her mother, but we've just got to keep going," he said. "We're going to keep the business open, just to see how it goes, you know."
Mr Hudson paid tribute to Wendy Hudson as a kind, trusting woman who had a knack of inspiring loyalty and love among her close-knit staff.
When the couple first started their restaurants and businesses, they would often go weeks without money in order to pay their staff, he said.
"She had letters from a lot of those people she'd employed over the years who wrote to her while she was in the hospital, it was pretty touching really," he said.
"She was just so unique, nothing to touch her, and I think a lot of people tried to be as good as, you know, but she always had that touch, she was always so good to people. She trusted everybody."
Ms Hudson was a Brisbane native but came to Canberra after meeting and marrying Brian Hudson in London. They divorced after 19 years but remained business partners and rang each other every day.
Lawyer Rod Barnett, who was best man at the Hudsons' wedding in 1971, said Ms Hudson was very well regarded in the hospitality industry and was known as a hard worker.
"She was a very kind and gentle person, and she always took time out for her friends," he said.
He remembered a woman who had such busy schedules she "never stopped" but who would always turn up to his children's parties with a beautiful cake.
Ms Hudson's 90-year-old mother Margaret Flynn said she was absolutely bereft.
"Wendy was the best daughter anyone could have. She absolutely delighted in throwing surprise parties for people. When I was 80 she organised a surprise party in London from Canberra," she said.
"She'd take on young teenagers in the business and she was just like a mother to them."
A private funeral was held on Thursday and Mr Hudson said a celebration of her life was planned for January.