The pews at Holy Trinity Anglican Church were packed on Saturday to celebrate the life of William James Marshall, former town clerk and community leader, who died on January 11.
Latecomers struggled to find seats as Mr Marshall, known as Bill, was remembered as a giant of both the community and of his family.
Father Mal Dunnett opened proceedings telling those gathered for the funeral how Mr Marshall had told him the three pillars of his life that he was thankful God had given him were his faith, his wife Majorie, and his family, which included seven children, 19 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Those themes were returned to continually in the service, with plenty of bible readings, prayers and and hymns. Mrs Marshall, who died in February 2017, was also fondly remembered as a significant part of Mr Marshall’s life, as the pair were married for over 60 years.
Family also filled the church, with four of Mr Marshall’s daughters taking it in turns to read a letter he had written himself for the ceremony, saying “I have had a wonderful, happy and fulfilling life thanks to Jesus Christ.”
“I have had a wonderful, happy and fulfilling life thanks to Jesus Christ”Bill Marshall, in a letter read by his daughters.
Mr Marshall’s two sons, Bill and John, read the eulogy.
John spoke of how Mr Marshall had helped raise his brothers after their father died while they were young, and how he organised children in their Sydney neighbourhood to play games which would sometimes include catapults.
He spoke about his father’s rise through the ranks of local government and the pride he took in his job, as well as the huge number of community programs he took part in after retiring.
Bill remembered his father always wearing suits, whether it be at the football or sometimes out in the garden, and said people often mixed him up with his father because they shared a name.
“However, all of those people who asked ‘are you Bill Marshall from Orange?’ always had something nice to say about dad,” he said.
“The night before he died, the doctor said ‘he’s a good man’, and he was.”
“He’ll be missed.”
Mr Marshall’s daughter Jean sang two songs in memory of her father as tribute to his love of music before more readings from family members, a sermon and communion finished the service.