December 28 is a date pretty close to the heart of Sharon Salmons.

It was the date she went on her first date with husband Mark, and also the day he proposed to her.

But today it's the day that she's organising his funeral after he collapsed and died fly fishing while the couple holidayed with friends in Golden Bay.

Sharon Salmons said the coroner had ruled his death as a drowning but she believes his collapse was likely caused by his underlying heart condition. He suffered a heart attack aged 30.

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The 49-year-old was an avid hunter and fisherman. After racing into the water to recover her husband's body, she discovered the fishing rod still in his hand.

Mark Salmons loved fishing and was pretty chuffed when he caught this 5lb trout. Photo/Supplied
Mark Salmons loved fishing and was pretty chuffed when he caught this 5lb trout. Photo/Supplied

Sharon was today still making her way south back to Queenstown and was busying herself organising his funeral, which will be on January 8. A venue was still to be confirmed.

But she couldn't shake the poignancy of the date.

"We met for the first time this day nine years ago, so we decided to get engaged on our anniversary dinner, so it was a bit of a shame really. And now I'm organising his funeral today as well."

Not only was it a special day for her, but also the friends who they were holidaying with when Mark died.

Mark and Sharon Salmons pictured on their wedding day. Photo/Supplied
Mark and Sharon Salmons pictured on their wedding day. Photo/Supplied

"The couple that we were on holiday with, we invited them out for dinner when he proposed to me, they were also at our wedding, and they were also there at the end. So it's pretty poignant really."

The couple had just bought a house in Te Anau where Sharon will be based with her new job with Destination Fiordland however decided to go on holiday before picking up the keys.

She said she will carry on with the move to Te Anau as she knew it was what Mark would have wanted.

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Mark Salmons has a sister and his mother in Tauranga, a son in Auckland and daughter living in Australia.