Tauranga identity Rex Pollock has left a legacy in both the Bay business and speedway communities and the lives of the many people he touched.

The 70-year-old legend of the cranes hirage business and Tauranga speedway died yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

Tributes have flowed for Mr Pollock who had been involved in business since the 1960s.

Taranaki-born Mr Pollock, who called Tauranga home for 58 years, is survived by wife Cheryl, his three children and three step-children and 15 grandchildren as well as his older brothers Bill and Cecil.

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Mrs Pollock said she and her late husband shared a common belief in working hard and had been "glued at the hip" since meeting.

"Rex was an old-fashioned kind of gentleman. He was a very generous, proud man and a quietly spoken gentleman. His handshake was his signature ... He mixed with everybody and anybody and never ranked people and made everyone feel welcome.

"Rex was a very good person, and a very generous person, who gave a lot of money to lots of local causes because he was very staunch about looking after the local community rather than see the money go out of town."

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said Mr Pollock would be hugely missed. "Rex was a true icon of Tauranga. Firstly in the construction industry as a builder, then in his cranes business. He also made a huge contribution to speedway.

"When I last spoke to Rex he asked me to speak at his funeral and I'm extremely honoured to be able to do that. Rex was a generous man and strongly passionate about Tauranga. He absolutely loved people and loved helping others. He gave so much of himself and when it came to fundraising events he generously gave money or lent his equipment many, many times over many years." Mr Crosby said Mr Pollock was a quiet man but when he had something to say people listened.

In 1965 just out of a building apprenticeship, he went into partnership with his former foreman Allan Todd. By the early 1980s Todd & Pollock had grown into one of the most influential transport and crane hire companies in the Bay of Plenty and when Mr Todd retired in 1986 he sold his half share to Mr Pollock.

In 2008 Pollock and Sons Crane Hire Limited was born under the directorship of one of Mr Pollock's sons, Wayne, but Mr Pollock continued to coach his children to run the business successfully to "earn their inheritance" and generously shared his business acumen with many others.

A celebration of Mr Pollock's life will be held this Saturday at a time and venue yet to be confirmed.

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