"What more can you say about a man who lived to 103?"
Those were the opening words of Dr Ian Kusabs, as he spoke at his grandfather's funeral, attended by about 100 people, yesterday in Rotorua.
John Woods, a World War II veteran who lived independently until moving into a rest home last year, was buried on his daughter's farm in Horohoro this afternoon.
He was born on November 1, 1915, and died on Saturday.
Woods, the eldest of eight children, spent four and a half years as a gunner in Egypt and Italy after growing up during the Great Depression.
He was one of few to survive the Battle of El Alamein, and the Battle of Cassino two years later.
Woods then came back to raise a family with his wife Diana, and they retired in Rotorua.
He was affectionately known as "Boyboy" by his family, after his eldest grandchild, Martin Kusabs, called him that as a young boy.
Woods would often rent holiday homes at picturesque beaches such as Ōhope, and he owned a bach at Ōamaru Bay on the Coromandel.
His passion was sea fishing.
His coffin was adorned with a fishing rod, a wreath and his war medals: the Italy Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal for 1939-1945 and the New Zealand War Service Medal.
Martin Kusabs said "when Boyboy did a job he did an excellent job" and a good example of this was when he built a footbridge by hand over a slippery area at the bach.
"His family never went without anything."
Woods' family was too poor to send him to high school, so he started an apprenticeship at age 13, but he was highly intelligent.
"If he had the same opportunity I had to go to university, he would have graduated with First Class Honours," Martin said.
Ian Kusabs said his grandfather typified the characteristics of his generation, being frugal, faithful and humble.
"A strong, quiet type."
He was also a staunch Labour supporter, and right into his final years, he was always up to date with current affairs.
Woods also always knew what his family members were doing, and those on his street, despite being a man of few words.
"Unless I was climbing on a roof, playing with matches, or scribbling on wallpaper. Then he was surprisingly vocal."
Ian also recalled breaking his arm and being knocked out when he was reckless climbing rocks.
"'Leave me here to die' I said, and Boyboy just kept on fishing."
Woods very rarely spoke of his times at war but in the last few years he told Ian, "if there's another war, don't bother calling me up, I'm not going to go. Just throw me in jail".
Vivienne Wylie was Woods' neighbour for 20 years on Robertson St, Glenholme.
She said Woods would have at least two sets of visitors before lunchtime most days.
"As he became more deaf, I could often hear his conversations from my living room."
She said Woods "supervised" the street, watching from his front rooms.
When he lost one leg in old age, his new motorised scooter, with a price he fiercely negotiated down, gave him "a new lease of life".
Woods would mostly use it to do to his shopping.
"He even managed to set off the alarm in Briscoes coming home with a microwave oven."
He was also very precise and corrected ambulance staff last year when they said he was 102, not 102 and a half.
However, Woods' health took a turn when his home was hit by last year's April floods.
Wylie and Woods both had to move out while their homes were repaired.
Woods had "the hugest smile" when he was able to return before Wylie could, but soon after had to move to Glenbrae.