JOHN Felsch, who served a total of 32 years as a Ballina Shire councillor, died on Saturday after a short illness, aged 75.
He is survived by his three children David, Roslyn and Adrian, and his partner Therese.
The South Ballina man was a staunch supporter of local government.
He was an alderman on the Ballina Municipal Council before it merged with the Tintenbar Shire from 1971 until 1976.
He was then an alderman and later councillor on Ballina Shire Council from 1977 to 1987, and again from 1991 until 2008, serving two stints as deputy mayor.
Mr Felsch was also a major player in the sugarcane industry.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s he became one of the biggest producers of sugarcane in the local area.
He went to Sydney in the early '80s and became a chauffeur, with famous clients such as Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell, Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder.
But he remained committed to local government in Ballina and returned home every month for council meetings.
He was an advocate for maintaining the Burns Point ferry service at a reasonable cost.
Current Ballina mayor David Wright said Mr Felsch would be missed in the local community.
"He always promoted the ideals of local government," Cr Wright said.
"He was very passionate, particularly if there was a cause he believed in and he cared about issues at South Ballina and in A Ward.
"He was always noted for trying to be the last person to speak in the debate at council meetings.
"John wasn't quiet, but that's the way he was.
"He was also a good businessman and so he had a lot of input into the early devel- opment of the council's entrepreneurial ventures.
"He will be long remembered in the Ballina community."
Mr Felsch's funeral will be held at St Mary's Anglican Church on the corner of Norton and Burnet Sts, Ballina, on Monday, March 4, from 10.30am.
Mourners are asked to wear colourful attire to the funeral and donations to the Cancer Council can be left with the funeral director.
CR FELSCH'S ACHIEVEMENTS
John Felsch served as an executive member of the Local Government Association from 1978 to 1987 and then 1991 to 1992.
He was the council's delegate to the Far North Coast County Council from September 1983 to September 1987 and then from September 1991 to September 2008.
He was Ballina Shire Council's delegate to the Richmond River County Council from September 1995 to September 2008.