The wider Wimmera community is uniting in the memory of Dr John Nunn, a well-respected educator, community leader and mentor.
Dr Nunn was a pre-eminent figure in the Wimmera and Mallee education sector first as a teacher, and then as the Wimmera's school inspector with the Department of Education.
Friends and colleagues remember Dr Nunn's passion for teaching and meticulous attention to detail.
The son of pioneering Mallee farmers at Morkalla, Dr Nunn first found his passion for teaching while attending the rural Morkalla State School until 1944.
His introduction into schooling made him realise involvement in education was a serious business, as he received the strap around his legs on the first day for giggling.
Consequently, he never giggled again in his life.
When the school closed in 1944, Dr Nunn would ride a pony named Rosie seven miles to Morkalla North State School - which was also closed at the end of 1944.
He finished his secondary education at Mildura High School, and attended the Ballarat Teachers' College in 1951 to complete a one-year teaching course.
Close friend Bill Ower first met Dr Nunn when he was teaching at the Wycheproof High Elementary School.
Mr Ower was a student at the school, and played football alongside Dr Nunn.
The two met again in Horsham in the 1970s and became close friends through the Horsham East Rotary club.
"I came across John again when I moved to Horsham back in 1972 and he followed here shortly after," he said.
"We became very good friends, he was a great gentleman, very kind and unassuming fellow.
"He was very involved in the community. When I was the president of the Horsham East Rotary club he was my secretary and he was very meticulous with everything he did. Just a very nice man."
Dr Nunn served as Horsham's Inspector of Schools from 1977 to 1983, when the position was abolished.
His career took him around the state, teaching at schools in both regional Victoria and Melbourne. In that time he also completed Bachelor degrees in Commerce and Education, and a Master of Education at Monash University - which would later be converted to a Doctorate in Philosophy.
His thesis was on the topic of "Consolidation of Rural Schooling in the Wimmera District of Victoria" for which he received a fellowship of higher study from the Department of Education to complete.
Dr Nunn also had a passion for public speaking and spearheaded the revitalisation of Horsham's Rostrum club, holding the title of Freeman in the organisation.
Horsham Rostrum member June Liddy remembered Dr Nunn as a keen public speaker, who would almost always win the group's regional competition.
"He was an excellent public speaker. I tried many times to defeat him in our competitions, and he won it every time," she said.
"John was the best. Very good, very considered. Always chose interesting subjects. I did enjoy all of our interesting discussions at the Rostrum club, and he was just a lovely gentleman. One of the best.
"He was a friend and I treasured his friendship."
Dr Nunn's passion for public speaking and education extended to his work with Wimmera Legacy's youth public speaking competitions.
Dr Nunn served as a judge in the regional and state levels of the competition, and coached many participants who went on to compete at higher levels.
Wimmera Legacy secretary Neville Smith said Dr Nunn was a warm and compassionate mentor for the students participating in the annual competition.
"Particularly he was very good with the students because he had a very deep interest in public speaking, he was always very encouraging and helpful and took great pride in his achievements.
"John was always very warm. You would meet him down the street after he retired and he was always good for a conversation and always interested to know what was going on.
"He had a great interest in people. He had a long interest in education and you could see that in his history and background. He loved to work with the community and particularly with students. Just a warm, sympathetic and encouraging person.
"I had a word the other day from a former federal member Peter Fisher, who said John was always proud of the fact that he was a Mallee boy. He was very proud he came from the bush, and I think that is why he saw the value of education, the way it is able to transform people's lives."
Dr Nunn's position as a community leader and educator saw him awarded many awards and certificates of appreciation throughout his life.
In 1999, Dr Nunn was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division as part of the year's Queen's Birthday honours.
Among his many positions at the head of Horsham's community groups, Dr Nunn also served as the president of the Horsham East Rotary club from 1990 to 1991.
Horsham East Rotarian and close friend Bruce Johansen described Dr Nunn as a "thorough gentleman", and as good a friend as someone could have.
"He was a wonderful friend and absolutely meticulous in everything he did. If you gave John a job to do he did it well," he said.
"If he was the chairman of any committee before he left at the end of the year he would write virtually a booklet giving the incoming member absolutely minute instructions as to what needed to be done and when. That was John. Everything he did, he did it meticulously and on time."
"If you wanted something done thoroughly you would get John to do it. You saw his car and you knew what he was like. The second car he ever bought he had for the rest of his life, and it was better when than it was when he bought it."
Through Rotary Mr Johansen formed a close friendship with Dr Nunn and Mr Ower, which would endure for more than 40 years.
The three of them continued to meet long after Dr Nunn's time at Rotary, always with a story to share.
"Even after Rotary, we were still mates and we kept in touch. There were three of us, Bill Ower, John and myself," he said.
"Every year whoever had a birthday shouted the other two and we would go and spend two hours at the club just yarning and reminiscing and enjoying each other's company.
"That was at least three times a year we would get together. We would see each other often.
"I just remember John as a true blue mate. You could rely on him. He would never let anybody down."
Dr Nunn was remembered as a friend to animals as well. Mr Johansen said "no price was too much" to care for his pets, two stray cats and a dog from the pound.
Mr Johansen said Dr Nunn's habit of taking stray animals into his home and making them feel loved was reflective of his dedication to bringing the best out of Horsham's young minds.
"That was John, he would pick up strays. John made them so loved, and that is how he was with people. He would take people under his wing, with the debating teams he would coach them," he said.
"He was a faithful friend."
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