Geoff Forshaw OAM is being remembered for his "enormous" contribution to the surf life saving movement, along with his "endless kindness and humility", following his death on Tuesday.
Mr Forshaw was not only a top official in Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, but also in the organisation's Sydney Branch, which covers beaches south of the harbour.
He was a life member and patron of both the Cronulla club and Sydney Branch, and was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to life saving on Australia Day this year.
Brad Turner, president of the Cronulla club said in a message to members, "It is with a heavy heart that I advise you of the passing of our beloved Patron Emeritus, Geoff Forshaw".
Mr Turner said Mr Forshaw had "suffered ill health for some time, but he passed peacefully in the company of his family this evening".
"An elite athlete, accomplished administrator, a true leader of Cronulla SLSC, and across the movement more broadly, it is difficult to quantify his contribution - but it is enormous," he said.
"I will not start the chorus of anecdotes about Geoff's athletic achievements or contributions to CSLSC...but I did want to acknowledge Geoff's endless kindness, humility and the time he always seemed to have for all members. A legend and a true gentleman."
Elissa Hancock, president of Surf Life Saving Sydney, said Mr Forshaw had "a profound impact" on the organisation and community".
"As Sydney Branch president from 1985 to 1991, life member since 2001 and patron since 2020, Geoff was a beacon of inspiration, embodying the spirit of dedication, leadership, and unwavering support," she said.
"Geoff played an instrumental role in shaping the identity and success of Surf Life Saving Sydney.
"Geoff's commitment to excellence, passion for our organisation, and generosity as a president, life member and our patron has left an enduring legacy that will be felt for generations to come."
Fiona Sutton, president of the Wanda club, said, "Geoff's commitment to excellence, passion for our organisation, and generosity as a president, life member and SLSS patron has left an enduring legacy that will be felt for generations to come - such a good man in all ways, a gentleman and a friend to all".
Mr Forshaw joined Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club at the age of 17 after leaving school.
"I absolutely fell in love with surf life saving," Mr Forshaw told the Leader in January this year, when he was awarded the OAM,.
"As a young fellow I liked the sporting side as well as the life saving, and also came up through the ranks of administration.
"It has been very satisfying being involved with a very worthwhile volunteer community organisation.
"I enjoy the camaraderie and everything else about it."
Mr Forshaw's long list of positions and achievements began with the role of patrol captain at the Cronulla club from 1967-1973.
He joined the executive committee in 1974 and filled various senior positions before serving as president from 1981-1985.
Mr Forshaw was the Cronulla Delegate to Sydney Branch from 1980-1981, which led to him taking on a series of positions, including president from 1986-1991.
While he was the deputy president at Sydney Branch, he was chairman of the helicopter rescue service for 12 months.
"The service was started by Sydney Branch in the 1970s," he said. "They started out hiring a helicopter for a weekend, and it grew from there.
"It is now run by the national body."
Mr Forshaw said surf life saving had changed a great deal from when he started, and for the best.
"The patrolling club members are now very well trained in rescue and first aid and they have various items of equipment that weren't available when I joined," he said.