FORMER Horsham mayor and parliamentarian Bernie Dunn has died.
Mr Dunn lost his battle with cancer on Friday morning. He was 73.
Son Luke, who worked alongside him at their Brimpaen farming property, paid tribute to a community leader and family man.
“Bernie was an honourable man, kind and loving and he was never afraid to give his opinion or advice,” Luke said.
“Part of his life ended when he lost his soulmate, Dot, in 2011. They were high school sweethearts and they were always together.
“Dad loved farming and farming with myself, and it saddened him he wouldn’t be around to share that experience with his grandsons when they were old enough to come home.
“He had a passion for farming, love and devotion to his family and always had a feeling of responsibility to work towards the greater good for his community and society as a whole.”
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Mr and Mrs Dunn had five children, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Mr Dunn was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal in the 2007 Queen’s Birthday honours.
Originally from Warracknabeal, Mr Dunn was National Party Member for North Western Province in Victoria’s Legislative Council between 1969 and 1988.
At 25 he was the youngest person elected to State Parliament. He had various leadership and representative roles with the National Party and retired voluntarily from politics in 1988.
He shifted to Brimpaen in 1993.
Mr Dunn served on Horsham Rural City Council between 1997 and 2005, which included four terms as mayor.
He was a member of Livestock Saleyards Association of Victoria for nine years and Australian Barley Board member for 16 years. He also helped form the Leukaemia Auxiliary of the Royal Children’s Hospital in 1973.
After receiving the honour in 2007, Mr Dunn told the Wimmera Mail-Times that he rated his terms as Horsham mayor his greatest experience representing people.
The council’s former chief executive Kerryn Shade said Mr Dunn was influential in the relocation of the Wimmera Regional Livestock Exchange to Burnt Creek and the development of the Horsham Aquatic Centre and Horsham City Gardens.
“He was a giant of a man and a mayor and was renowned in political circles on both sides,” Mr Shade said.
“He was one of Horsham’s best ever mayors. He was firm but always in control. He would command respect.
“He had a dedicated passion for the Wimmera and Mallee, and Horsham in particular while he was mayor.”
A funeral service is at St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Horsham on Thursday at 2pm.