Financier Allan Hubbard fell victim to an "unavoidable collision of powerful forces that led to disaster", his daughter says.
Mr Hubbard, once the South Island's richest man, had been hit by a "perfect storm" of the global financial crisis, his age and failing health, and his work habits when he died in a car crash last month, his eldest daughter, Lesley Limbe, said at a memorial service for her father in Timaru yesterday.
Mr Hubbard, 83, was charged by the Serious Fraud Office after the collapse of his business, South Canterbury Finance, resulted in a record $1.7 billion bailout.
Ms Limbe said the storm facing her father was such that it was "impossible to navigate out of it".
"It is a tragedy that his life ended in the midst of such tribulation," she said.
Hundreds gathered for the Caroline Bay Soundshell service, which focused on the hard-working, humble and generous character of Mr Hubbard, who donated more than $100 million to charity.
Parked near the stage yesterday was Mr Hubbard's mustard-coloured 1971 Volkswagen Beetle - a vehicle that came to symbolise his simple lifestyle.
When Mr Hubbard was caught by police driving it without his licence, he was given diversion as a first offender and ordered to make a donation to the charity of his choice, said business associate John Stark.
"No doubt Allan had a quiet chuckle over that."
The chief executive of South Canterbury Presbyterian Support, Michael Parker, said it would not be an exaggeration to say that the ripple effect of Mr Hubbard's generosity benefited thousands. But he did not like "status or ceremony", believing true philanthropy was "undertaken quietly".
Long-time client Murray Turley said Mr Hubbard rescued the livelihood of many farming families.
If the farmers had to leave the industry, Mr Hubbard made sure they exited "gracefully".
Business associate Duncan Brand said Mr Hubbard was usually at work by 7am each day and would not leave the office until 10pm or 11pm - seven days a week.
"Allan was always happy at work and had an infectious laugh ... that would echo through the office each and every day."
Long-time friend Edward Sullivan said Mr Hubbard had repeatedly said over the last few months that he had done nothing wrong.
"By the standards he set himself, that is probably right. He has, through his lifetime, done a lot of things right and benefited a lot of people."
Jean Hubbard, who was driving the car when the fatal crash occurred last month, released a white dove and was given a standing ovation.
A helicopter flyover honoured Mr Hubbard's close links to the helicopter industry.
Mr Hubbard was laid to rest in a private service last month.
A police investigation into the crash is continuing.