THE TWEED community came out in force today to mark the life of much-loved family man and journalist, Michael Patterson.
Hundreds of people packed Murwillumbah's Sacred Heart Catholic Church this morning to pay their last respects to the former Gold Coast Mail editor, who died suddenly last week while celebrating his 60th birthday.
Those present included family, friends, students from Mount St Patrick's College as well as a strong contingent of past and present colleagues from a successful media career spanning more than 30 years.
In a moving tribute, the words of Michael's partner Fran Silk were read out to the congregation where she remembered his clever wit and story-telling abilities.
"We will miss your wit, your humour and the bank of stories committed to your amazing memory," Fran's sister-in-law, Michelle Patterson, read out.
"You were a big man, with a big heart, who will leave a big hole in everyone's life."
Earlier, Michael's youngest son Hamish Patterson thanked the doctors and nurses who cared for his father in his final hours.
He also thanked the many strangers who helped at the time of his accident, allowing for the successful donation of Michael's organs.
A guard of honour, led by Tweed Shire Council general manager Troy Green, was formed as Michael's casket was led out of the church behind a lone bagpiper and his poignant rendition of 'Amazing Grace'.
A gifted wordsmith, graphic designer and sports lover, Michael's career included work at The Australian newspaper, managing editor at Federation Publishing Company, editor of the Gold Coast Mail before he joined Tweed Shire Council's communications team.
Michael leaves behind his partner Fran and their four children, Stuart, Lachlan, Hamish and Amelia.