Legendary Canberra Raiders coach Don Furner snr is being remembered as a brilliant rugby league mind who was "always happy" after losing a long battle with illness on Monday.
The Green Machine family is mourning the loss of one of the club's most influential figures. He was 88 years old.
Furner snr left an indelible mark on the Raiders, becoming the club's inaugural coach and keeping that position until 1987.
He is the man who recruited Mal Meninga to Canberra and told a young Ricky Stuart to go back to pursue a chance to play rugby union for Australia before joining the Raiders.
Furner snr played for Queensland and was a Kangaroos tourist in 1956-57 before starting a successful coaching career.
Furner snr and Les McIntyre were the architects of transforming the Raiders into a competition powerhouse less than 10 years after joining the NSWRL.
"He died peacefully and was well cared for by the staff at Mirinjani," the Furner family said in a statement.
"The family is thankful for all the support and lovely messages, he was always happy and had a smile on his face, and will be remembered that way."
His oldest son Don jnr is now the Raiders' chief executive while David Furner played for the Green Machine before following his father's footsteps to become a coach.
The Raiders are already discussing a way to appropriately honour Furner snr's legacy.
Furner snr was a father figure for many of the Raiders' players, including current coach and dual international Ricky Stuart.
Stuart was family friends with the Furners and spoke to Furner snr about his career options when he was about to leave St Edmund's College in the late 1980s.
If it hadn't been for Furner snr's input, Stuart might never have played rugby union for Australia.
"I remember being offered a contract here with John McIntyre and Don, then sitting down to discuss it further," Stuart said.
"He told me to go back to school, to repeat year 12, to try to achieve the most I possibly could out of rugby union and then come back to talk to us.
"He said we'll be the first to talk to you. That was the handshake deal I had, and I rang John McIntyre the day I knew I wanted to come back to the Canberra Raiders.
"That was the man management of Don. It wasn't about the Raiders, it was about the person. I still cherish that "It was the greatest piece of advice as a young boy you could get.
"I remember when he was announced as coach of the Australian Kangaroos I still remember walking into the foyer of the Queanbeyan Leagues club and handing him a congratulations card. He achieved a lot in his time."
Tributes have already begun to flow for one of the pioneering Raiders, who is a life member of the club.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said: "Don was one of those rare gifts to the game which allowed him to excel as a player, as a coach and a fine administrator.
"Very few have been able to do that in rugby league.
"Don will be missed but he will always have a place in the game as one of the founding figures of the Raiders, along with other significant achievements.
"On behalf of the game I offer my sincerest condolences to Don's family and friends, particularly his sons David and Don who have also made significant contributions to the sport."
Raiders chairman Allan Hawke added: "Don Furner snr was a fundamental piece of the architecture in putting our club together.
"He distinguished himself as a player, an exemplary coach and then as an administrator.
"Very few people would have the gift to excel in all the facets of rugby league, but Don Furner snr did."
Furner snr played in Queensland and NSW, playing for Queensland eight times and being included for the Kangaroos' tour of England in 1956-57.
He was forced to retire through injury and embarked on a highly successful coaching career, taking Eastern Suburbs to a grand final in 1972 and piloting the Queanbeyan Blues to a remarkable 10 premierships in 13 years.
Inevitably, Don became a fundamental part of the Raiders' push to enter the NSWRL, recruited by club patriarch Les McIntyre to add genuine credibility to the bid.
Furner snr led the Raiders to their first finals series and then teamed up with Wayne Bennett to guide the club to its first grand final in 1987 before ending his coaching career.