Such was the humility of Rotorua's Murray Cheater, many did not know he was an Olympian until it was mentioned at his funeral.
Cheater died of heart failure on Tuesday, aged 73.
He represented New Zealand in the men's hammer throw at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal where his throw of 67.38m saw him finish 16th. The winner, Karl-Hans Riehm, of West Germany, threw 74.46m.
He also finished fifth at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.
Cheater was the New Zealand national champion in the hammer throw from 1974–79 and 1981–84.
A celebration of his life was held at Rotorua Crematorium on Friday.Cheater's daughter Jacqueline Udyavar said he was a humble man who did not talk about his athletic achievements unless asked.
"He was really humble, hardly anyone actually knew he was an Olympian, they had no clue about what he'd done. To him that was just a part of his life that he'd done and now he was a drainlayer and didn't really tell anyone."
Cheater moved to Rotorua from Auckland in 1976, after the Olympics, to work as a drainlayer and with his brother established Cheater Bros Ltd. It was in Rotorua that he met his wife Eileen with whom he had four children, Jacqueline, Phillip, David and Jeff.
Jacqueline said her dad was quiet but hard-working and supportive. Although none of his children followed in his footsteps with athletics, there was rarely a game of volleyball, hockey, cricket, rugby or netball that he did not go and watch.
"I think one of his best traits with us kids is he never really pushed us into anything. He was always supportive and he came when we were playing our sport. We went with him when he was coaching athletics but none of us ever really took to it ourselves.
"I can't think of one game that I didn't have at least one of my parents at, they made it such a priority. He was really caring, he'd give you the shirt off his own back."
Speaking at the funeral yesterday,Cheater's son Phillip said his dad was incredibly strong physically, but stronger in character.
"He spoke quietly but people listened. In his younger years they were probably scared that he would 'bop them on the head' as he would say. In his later years he was so well respected through his work ethic, professionalism and character that if Murray spoke, you listened.
"He often passed on words of advice to younger tradesmen and in particular small business owners. He would say something like 'be careful, don't chase the money and start working weekends, weekends are for family'. The interesting thing is dad worked for close to 50 years in the dirt but was known as a gentleman."
Phillip said his dad always showed how incredibly proud of his children he was and taught them valuable life lessons, in his own quiet way.
"Dad, you can rest easy and safe in the knowledge that you and Mum raised four great kids. Through your hard work, you provided for your family and you have provided for Mum well past your years. We will look after Mum for you.
"You never retired but your time has come. Knock off, Dad."
Murray Spencer Cheater (January 26, 1947–August 4, 2020) is survived by wife Eileen, children Jacqueline, Phillip, David and Jeff and seven grandchildren.