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Keith Thomas Valli commuted to the Pike River Mine each week from his home in Wairio, near Winton in central Southland.
He was a successful lawn bowler for the Nightcaps Bowling Club and was known affectionately around the club as the "quiet giant".
Keith, 62, was a miner at the Ohai Mine in Southland until it closed last year.
He was the oldest of the 29 miners.
Keith was a brother of former All Black, Geoff Valli.