The man killed when his mobile home collided with a truck near Levin on Monday was retired Masterton man Trevor Sturgess.
Widower Mr Sturgess, 83, had been staying with his daughter Linda at Foxton Beach, where only the day before the crash, he had nursed his newest grandchild, 11-week-old Oliver, for the first time.
Linda Sturgess said her dad was meant to return to her home on Monday night "but never made it".
Instead he died at the scene of the crash on State Highway 1 near Levin when the mobile home he had owned for about 15 years collided with a fully laden truck and trailer near the intersection of the highway and Kimberley Rd just after 1pm.
His passenger, an elderly Masterton woman who police have not yet named, was seriously injured and rushed to Palmerston North Hospital, where she was last described as being in a stable condition.
The crash closed the highway for more than two hours and traffic was diverted.
Mr Sturgess was a passionate football fan and a stalwart of Masterton AFC, and was one of the people involved in the development of the Johnston Street complex. He was also a life member of the Masterton Cosmopolitan Club and for the past 10 years had helped the Wairarapa Organisation for Older Persons (WOOPS).
Linda Sturgess said her father loved music and had entertained her family on Sunday, playing the harmonica.
"In recent years, he had lived for old time dancing and had travelled about the lower North Island to go dancing."
Mr Sturgess had started his working life as a jockey, entering stables at Tauherenikau when he was just 13 years old.
He continued in the racing industry until his children were small when his wife Marjorie, who died in October 2009, convinced him to work at a less dangerous occupation. He finished his working life at Placemakers in Carterton.
"He was very passionate about things he was interested in and could be a bit bloody minded at times.
"But he was also very generous and loved to visit homes for the elderly and play the harmonica to entertain them."
Mr Sturgess is survived by his daughter and son Craig. A second daughter, Marilyn, predeceased him.
A funeral service for Mr Sturgess will be held in Masterton, with details to follow.