Wilton firefighting stalwart Peter Shearer has been fondly remembered as a gentleman and great leader.
Mr Shearer died yesterday, June 9. He was 64.
Mr Shearer was a long-term servant of NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), notching up more than 50 years of service with the Wilton brigade.
RFS Southern Highlands administrator Raylene Linhart had worked with Mr Shearer since 1984.
Ms Linhart said the Wilton RFS captain was "definitely a gentleman".
"Peter was the figurehead of their brigade and was captain for many years," she said.
"He lived for that brigade and would do anything to help others.
"He is a huge loss for the Wollondilly community, particularly in Wilton."
Mr Shearer joined the Wilton Rural Fire Brigade in 1968.
He moved through the brigade's ranks from firefighter to deputy captain, senior deputy captain and then captain.
He also served as a divisional commander and sector leader in may local fires for nearly five decades. Mr Shearer fought fires in the Macarthur, Blue Mountains and Illawarra areas.
Wollondilly deputy mayor Matt Gould paid tribute to Mr Shearer on social media and said he would be sorely missed.
"Peter was an amazing man who gave a lifetime of service to his community," Cr Gould said.
"People like Peter are the glue that holds our communities together. His passing is a great loss for the RFS, the Wilton community and the shire as a whole."
Mr Shearer's dedication to firefighting was recognised when he was awarded a Meritorious Australian Fire Service Medal during last year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr Shearer said at the time that he was "honoured" to receive the award.
"My father was involved [in firefighting] so I followed in his footsteps," he said.
"I have loved helping serve the community and enjoyed meeting people and working in the RFS organisation."
A time and date for Mr Shearer's funeral has not been confirmed.