Reg Cyrus Pogonoski, the former owner and managing director of the R.C. Pogonoski printing business and eponym of the famous Pogo's surf break at Merewether passed away on Monday at the age of 96.
His son, Anthony Pogonoski, 67 of Salt Ash, said he would miss his father's "loving and gentle nature" as well as his "mechanical bent", which saw him develop interests in vintage motorcycles, farming equipment and bee-keeping.
"He liked to do things in the background," Anthony said. "He didn't impose himself but he was there to help and guide us if we needed. We found our way through life with his assistance."
Mr Pogonoski was born into a family of printers in 1923.
His grandfather, Kasmir Thomas Pogonoski, published several newspapers in the region in the late 1880's to early 1900s, including the Wallsend and Plattsburg Sun, the Newcastle Argus and Cessnock 's "Express".
Mr Pogonoski's father, Reginald, founded R.C. Pogonoski Printers, which ran from Hunter Street and, later, Darby Street.
"He left Marist Brothers at the age of 15," Anthony said, "To join his father's printing company as an apprentice compositor. Then he moved to training as a machinist. Basically, his father was training him in all areas of printing so he might follow ... and indeed he did.
"He worked there until he retired in 1988 and then sold out his interest in the business."
Mr Pogonoski grew up in a house on John Parade between Dixon Park and Merewether Beach near Coane Street.
The Pogonoskis have gone down in surfing history as the eponym of "Pogo's" break directly in front of the family home, which has since been replaced by new owners.
Robbie Wood, one of the founders of the Merewether Surfboard Club wrote in a book documenting the history of the organisation, that he and the other club founders were riding at "Pogonoski's" as early as 1959, "so called because the printing family's home was a landmark".
Dave Anderson, 58, who is a life member of Merewether Surf Club, said he had fond memories of using the Pogonoskis' "famous hose" to wash down his surf board when he began "hanging around" the surfboard club as a young teen in the early '70s.
"It was very much appreciated. They always let us use it, while the owners of the other houses would probably chase us down the street," he said.
Mr Pogonoski had moved out of Merewether by the early '60s to settle in Whitebridge with his wife Joan Noeleen née Wilson and their three children Chris, Anthony and Jane.
Mr and Mrs Pogonoski were in their early teens when they first met at a dance in Newcastle. They married after Mr Pogonoski returned to Newcastle from the war.
He signed up to the army aged 18 and served in Papua New Guinea from October 1943 until August 1944, when his heavy artillery unit, the 'N' Australian Heavy Battery, was disbanded.
He helped build and man an observation post near Australian and American headquarters in Lae. Upon returning to Australia, Mr Pogonoski developed malaria and was sent to Concord Repatriation Hospital.
Mr Pogonoski was an active member of the Merewether, Hamilton and Adamstown RSL sub-branch up until his passing.
Anthony said he and his siblings were fortunate to have two very caring parents.
"Mum was also very gentle and, like a lot of mothers, she worried about everyone and everything," he said.
Mrs Pogonoski passed away in 2008 at 83, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her late 60s.
"My father nursed her at home for 15 years," Anthony said.
Mr Pogonoski lived independently in Whitebridge until he passed away.
He used Skype to call Chris, who lives in Sydney, every night.
He had eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Anthony said some of his best memories with his father were working alongside him on his farm near Limeburners Creek, which they have been travelling to almost every weekend since Mr Pogonoski bought the farm in the 60s.
"Up until this time last year he was still going up to the farm with me. He'd disappear for three or four hours on the tractor," Anthony said.
Over the past 10 years, Mr Pogonoski and his sons have "finally" turned the property into a viable Devon cattle breeding business.
"It was one of things Dad wanted to do," Anthony said.