A man who dedicated his life to Cobblestones Museum and became known as "Mr Cobblestones" has died.
Graham Croton, who had been heavily involved in the early settlers museum, Greytown, since the 1970s, was active until last December, greeting tour parties in his top hat and tails, helping fundraise and working on the grounds and buildings.
He had cancer and died peacefully at his Carterton home on Sunday aged 73, surrounded by family including his wife Wendy.
Mr Croton was chairman of the Cobblestones Trust for 25 years. He resigned in 2007 but stayed on as a member until three years ago.
He was also chairman of the Friends of Cobblestones, a volunteer group which works alongside the trust.
Graeme Gray, the current trust chairman, had known Mr Croton for eight years but said he had been involved in the museum for 40-45 years.
"I don't think any of us involved now would have been there for that length of time."
The Greytown Jaycees, of which Mr Croton was a member, started setting up the museum in 1969 and the trust was established later between 1979 to 1980.
"He was very much involved in all the different stages, he enjoyed that whole scene of developing and being part of progressing the museum," said Mr Gray.
In 1999, he was named Trustee of the Year by the NZ Trustees Association in recognition of his work there.
South Wairarapa Rotary Club recognised his service to the community and awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship.
Mr Gray said Mr Croton liked to keep active.
"He was there all the time, he was there every weekend, was always doing something.
"He said he enjoyed just the whole relationship with people, he obviously liked doing things for the community.
"He said some people play golf, some people go fishing, mine is Cobblestones.
"He was very much a man that was hands on, he didn't stand back and wait for what needed to be done.
"I know people liked to work alongside him, he was good at encouraging people to do things."
Margaret Craig, former trust member and South Wairarapa district councillor for Greytown, said the museum wouldn't be where it was now without his hard work over the years.
"Cobblestones went ahead in leaps and bounds."
Mrs Craig said it was probably around the 90s that the community began to know him as Mr Cobblestones.
"Graham really was the motivator and was the person everybody referred to for anything to do with the museum.
"He really was Cobblestones."
She said he was always there, even when he was running his mechanics business, coming to the museum after work two to three times a week.
She recalled seeing him preparing for the opening of the new entrance building last year.
"He was down there working away, I watched him sitting on a stool painting a fence. He kept it going all these years."
It was Mr Croton's wish that his funeral be held at Cobblestones in the grounds that he worked so hard to develop.
It will be held at 11am tomorrow.