Anne George, one of Marton's most recognisable community figures, died last week, with her loving husband by her side.
George, the founder of the Marton Country Music Festival, was well known in the area, running the music festival for 13 years and maintaining a lifelong presence in the community.
Born Winifred Anne George in 1942, she was the eldest of 10 children, coming from a "good Catholic family before the days of television", according to her husband Len George. She grew up on a dairy farm, babysitting her siblings as both parents worked on the farm.
By 18 she had moved to New Plymouth, studying maternity nursing. The teenager completed the course, but by 1960 decided she'd be more valuable in the Air Force.
"She joined the Air Force as a safety and surface worker, looking after all the parachutes, as well as the painting of the aircraft," Len said.
It was at this point that they both found love while puffing away outside a movie theatre.
"There used to be movies three times a week. At halftime, you'd go outside for a smoke and there was this group of girls. I sidled up to this one and we started chatting, and eventually, down the line I said 'bugger marriage, let's just go and live together'.
"Being a good Catholic girl, the answer was no."
The rejection didn't dissuade the young lovers. The pair married in 1963, later moving to the South Island on a placement to Woodbourne Air Force base.
After a short stint in the South Island with their young children, working on base and living in a home in Blenheim, the pair eventually settled in Marton, where Anne was to spend the rest of her life.
It was in Marton that Anne stumbled across the Marton Country Music Club, reigniting an old passion, Len said.
"We were walking down Marton one Saturday and we heard country music inside one of the halls. We poked our noses in and found the country music club."
After spending time engaging with the local country music community, Anne came up with a "very long term plan" to host a country music festival in Marton. They began hosting small gigs to fundraise for the event, with lesser-known overseas artists and Kiwi performers putting on a show in the local hall.
"We would do that about once a month. Any profits we made went into a fund."
The pair went on to host their first festival with the money raised, with 48 caravans parked at the venue for the inaugural show in 2005.
"Our first festival, we thought we were made. Thirteen years later we had about 4000 people at the festival."
Three years ago the event was passed on to Feilding's John De Burgh, with Anne heading into a much-deserved retirement.
De Burgh had known and worked alongside Anne for more than 25 years, saying she was highly respected within the community.
"She was definitely an asset to country music. She spent a lot of time encouraging young kids into music and they went on to do quite well too.
"It was her dedication that stood out. Quite a few people said they got their start and a lot of support from Anne in their early days."
Rangitikei District Councillor Cath Ash agreed, saying many young people have a lot to thank Anne for.
"She made a big impact on young people, especially young people coming into their own with their singing."
Ash said she had fond memories of Anne, one of the most memorable members of the community she dealt with.
"She was one of the first people I engaged with when I came into Marton, and her energy and enthusiasm was rather infectious. She just had this absolute love for the community.
"She was a really neat lady with just so much heart."
A keen gardener of fruit trees, she spent her later years in the backyard, pottering with "80 or 90 of the things". Anne and Len took up travelling, developing a love for cruising. She was also fond of putting together a "good hearty meal".
"She was a bloody good cook, just look at my waistline," Len said.
In between both tears and laughter, Len George said he was incredibly proud of what his wife and mother to his children had achieved over her lifetime.
"She was extremely well-loved and respected, but I'm biased. I wonder why.
"If there's one point I want to make, give your partner a hug, because you don't know when they're not there and you can't."