Neville McDonald never got to fulfil his dream of celebrating the 50th anniversary of his Jersey property, Sunshine Farm.
His life was cruelly cut short on a trip back to his home town of Lismore in northern NSW recently, suffering a fatal heart attack while he slept.
He was 66.
Neville's wife of nearly 40 years, Janelle, said her husband — affectionately known as ‘Nifty’ — wanted nothing more than to celebrate the occasion.
“Neville used Sunshine Farm as the name of his first stud in Lismore before he was 17 years of age and kept the name going when we moved down here,” she said.
“He talked about it (the 50-year milestone) regularly. He just loved his farm, family and the Kyabram Show Society.
“If the society had 100 working bees in a year he would have attended 99 per cent of them.
“He just loved the Kyabram agricultural shows and the rodeos. Along with his family and farm they were his life.”
Neville, with another show society stalwart Graham Joiner, who conducted a moving funeral service at the Kyabram Showgrounds on July 15, canvassed Kyabram businesses for 30 years to secure sponsorships and ensure the Kyabram shows and Kyabram rodeos were successfully staged and viable.
Neville served a combined seven years as president of the society and was made a life member in 2001.
His love of the Jersey breed and the dairy industry also kept him busy at district shows and dairy competitions as a judge, a role he immensely enjoyed and was well qualified to carry out.
Like her husband, Janelle — a show society stalwart and its current secretary — said she would continue to run the farm with support from Dylan Morris, at least to the 50th anniversary of the property next year.
“That was his dream and that’s the least I can do for him,” she said.
“When we get to that milestone we’ll see whether we go on or not, but I reckon I’m still too young to retire.”
Janelle, who also hails from her husband's home town of Lismore, said she had been overwhelmed with the support she had received since her husband’s death.
“It just unbelievable how many people have sent cards or phoned to offer their condolences and support,” she said.
“They have all been a great comfort to me and my children Wendy and sons Paul and Shane.”