ONE of Griffith's most cherished community leaders, Norm Murphy OAM, has passed away, aged 85.
Mr Murphy, a charity stalwart with a rare humanitarian streak, died on Thursday afternoon at Griffith Base Hospital following a short illness.
Tributes have poured in for the "unofficial mayor of Hanwood", a universally respected figure most known for his association with MTN-9, the Salvation Army, the Griffith Heart Support Group and the Rotary Club of Griffith.
The city's Citizen of the Year in 2005, Mr Murphy was also the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal and a Paul Harris Fellowship Rotary's highest honour.
But despite his tireless community efforts, Mr Murphy will be best remembered for his compassion and remarkable personal warmth.
"He was just a beautiful person, one of the finest men I've ever had the privilege of meeting," lifelong friend Mick Plos said.
"He had a kind word for everyone and what struck me most was his consistency over the years.
"The Norm you saw last week was same as the Norm you saw in primary school.
"He was very interested in the community and a strong supporter of charity, but what underpinned it was just this genuine love of people."
The son of Hanwood pioneers and one of five children, Mr Murphy was born on February 26, 1928 and lived his whole life on the family's original Murphy Road property.
He worked the farm until the great floods of 1956, when he left the land to pursue a career as a car salesman.
In 1965, he was poached by Griffith media tycoon Ray Gamble, rising from humble salesman to the general manager of MTN9/2RG a role his son Greg continues today.
Upon retiring, Mr Murphy went back to the family farm and dedicated himself even further to charity work, establishing the Griffith Heart Support Group, chairing the Griffith Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal committee and serving on a host of other committees.
"'Spud' was a great humanitarian who couldn't help but do things for others," close friend Peter Bartter said.
"He was the sort of bloke you could just sit down and chat with for hours.
"Everywhere you looked he was working tirelessly for someone.
"He'd had a tough life in some ways and could be a bull terrier in negotiations, but he always remained just a genuine good Aussie."
In a statement, Mr Murphy's children said his passing had left an irreplaceable hole in their lives.
"Dad was such a huge part of all of our lives," the statement read.
"We all loved and adored him and are at a loss to imagine life without him."
Fellow Rotarian Jock Donaldson said Mr Murphy would leave a profoound legacy.
"He had a great sense of humour, although it could be a little dry at times," Mr Donaldson said.
"But he such a good community person and a wise mentor to a lot of younger people."
Norm Murphy is survived by Karen and Paul, Maxine and Glenn, Barbara and Phil, Greg and Robyn, Terry (deceased) and Kaylene and his nine grandchildren.
His funeral will be held at Wednesday at St Alban's Cathedral from 1pm.