The Dannevirke Fantasy Cave has lost a dedicated and loyal stalwart, with the death of Ces Edwards on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Edward's wife Liz said her husband passed away very peacefully in his sleep at Palmerston North Hospital after battling, "one infection too many".
Mr Edwards was a member of the Fantasy Cave volunteers, the Cave Dwellers, for 14 years and president for the past nine.
He retired at the recent annual meeting, but stayed on the cave committee and was looking forward to recovering his health and becoming an active member once again.
Recently Mr Edwards told the Dannevirke News he had a sense of pride as the Fantasy Cave grew beyond belief.
"I'll never forget the look on little kids' faces when they see the place."
New Fantasy Cave president John Hart said Mr Edwards had put in 120 per cent at the cave.
"Nothing was too much effort for him, he has left a bloody big legacy," he said.
"I've stepped into some very big shoes. Ces fought hard to keep the cave open in 2011 when the lease of the building changed hands and he really brought it back to what it is today, our top tourist attraction.
"The Fantasy Cave was Ces' life and he thoroughly enjoyed every day there."
Mr Edwards also had a long 46-year association with the Dannevirke Lions Club, was previously a volunteer with the community night patrol and managed Dannevirke High School cricket teams.
A funeral service for Mr Edwards will be held at St John's Anglican Church Dannevirke at 1pm on Thursday.