Val Jeffery, Tharwa's unofficial mayor, was never impressed by bureaucracy.
When officials from the National Capital Development Commission came to the ACT village in 1981 with a plan to transform it, Mr Jeffery told them to scuttle the plan and asked them for the $20 fee for use of the hall to boot.
And while Mr Jeffery never held politicians in much stead either, he was remembered fondly by his ACT Legislative Assembly's colleagues on Tuesday as a man of "raw honesty".
In telling that story, Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe said it summed up Mr Jeffery beautifully - a bloke who "put his community first, ahead of bureaucracy".
"No big wigs from Canberra were going to escape that $20 fee," Mr Jeffery said.
Mr Jeffery served in the ACT parliament for just two and a half months officially, but his former Liberal colleague Giulia Jones remembered him as "the only man [in this building] to pull off the polo shirt and elastic tie".
"A true believer in the power of the individual to act and make a difference, Val fought valiantly for what he thought was right and for common sense," Mrs Jones said.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr remembered the long-time fire captain as a "true local champion" although acknowledged they did not often agree with him on their side of the chamber.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the general store owner was always "doing his best" to ensure rural villages were not forgotten.
It was fear of a Liberal seat falling to a Greens or Labor candidate that prompted a reluctant Mr Jeffery to step up and serve in the Assembly, Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson said.
"His plain speaking did serve this place well. Although his service was brief, he'd made as much of a contribution as those who'd lingered in this place longer," Mr Hanson said.
Andrew Wall revealed he was actually related to Mr Jeffery by some "obscure" family marriages, and said he was "one of a kind".
Mark Parton said Mr Jeffery was "one of the last remaining links to old Canberra".
"He represented the mountains and the trees as well as the people," Mr Parton said.
Nicole Lawder said Mr Jeffery was a rare "straight talker" in a world full of "political correctness".
"He will be missed," Ms Lawder said.