Phil Ainsworth, who passed away at Armidale Hospital on Monday, March 21, has been remembered as a larger than life character with a great sense of humour, which was well known in the local area.
While the 76-year-old once considered leaving Tenterfield with his wife Patti, they are a couple whose names will remain synonymous with the community.
Phil's first home as a child was in Dairy Flat, which had just three houses: Phil's family home and those of two uncles.
He moved later to a house in Girard State Forest and he once told the Star that's where some of his happiest childhood memories came from as an eight to 10-year-old. He attended Drake School but admitted he wasn't a good student.
He credited former Tenterfield High School principal Ray Curry with somewhat indirectly encouraging him to complete his leaving certificate.
As a young man he got work at Anderson's Meatworks as a by-products sales clerk. The position required him to wear a white coat, which attracted numerous missiles of said by-products whenever he had to visit the floor.
Following was a sales position with HG Palmer, a homewares retailer and Phil worked hard racking up sales when electricity first reached Mole River. He and Patti had just married and could make good use of his sales commission cheque.
After spending 27 years as a civilian employee of the Department of Defence, based at the Wallangarra Ammunitions and Store Depot, Phil climbed to the position of second-in-charge, before leaving to become the groundsman and general handyman at the local TAFE campus.
He considered several decades as a husband equipped him well enough for the handyman duties, but this extensive experience did not save him from stuffing up his first task to hang a noticeboard. He stood back to admire his work to find he'd hung the corkboard side against the wall.
Golf was Phil's real passion, and had been since he was in his late teens when he was recruited to the sport by Merv Kneipp and Rex Weight. Sadly, his enthusiasm didn't translate into a high skill level and he never won a club championship.
Val Davidson, however, helped carry him to victory in a string of NSW mixed pairs titles.
One of the most satisfying periods of his life was in the late "noughties" doing breakfast radio on Ten FM. He walked to the station each morning for his 6am shift, where his sometimes controversial opinions were occasionally divisive but always made for good listening.
Phil and Patti were also heavily involved with the organising committee for Oracles of the Bush for many years.
Despite having plenty of opportunities to leave Tenterfield, Phil was here for the duration.
When they were approaching 50, Patti and Phil sat down and each wrote a list of 10 things they wanted to be doing over the next 20 years. Eight of them they could do in Tenterfield, and the rest were only three hours away in the city.
He lost Patti, Tenterfield's longtime tourism manager, a decade ago.
Hundreds of mourners attended her funeral to grieve and remember one of Tenterfield's favourite faces.
Again this week, mourners came together to remember another of Tenterfield's favourite faces with Phil's funeral service held on Monday, March 28.
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