Paraire Paikea (Pike) Terewi has left the building for the last time and with characteristic efficiency, he drafted his own funeral notice.
Sandra Terewi said it was typical of her late husband to take care of all the fine details.
"He even left a list of his favourite jokes," she said.
"Everyone who knew him has been having a chuckle because it was so typical of him to make sure everything was well organised."
The retired Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), best known to everyone as "Pike", was a familiar face at Whanganui occasions and whether he was honouring his fallen comrades on Anzac Day or greeting visiting royalty, he was immaculately turned out with his uniform perfect and his medals polished.
"He was very loyal to the military," fellow veteran and RSM Mac McCallion said.
"Whenever there was an occasion related to military service he would be there."
Sandra said her husband's health had been deteriorating during the past five months and he died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday, aged 77.
Pike leaves a big whānau of children, stepchildren and grandchildren and Sandra said it is fortunate that most of them were able to come to Whanganui to bid him farewell despite Covid-19 border restrictions.
"There is one special niece that he was very close to who lives in England and a great-nephew in Australia who is his namesake.
"He recently became a father and has named his son after them both. The funeral was livestreamed so they were able to join us online."
Pike Terewi's military service lasted for 25 years - from 1963 to 1988 - and he served with the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT), Ex Thai Border, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.
He was just 20 when he served during the Malayan Emergency in the 1960s, and in 2018 he and Sandra took a trip to visit the barracks at Terendak Camp and the memorial to New Zealand soldiers who died there.
Pike was born at Whangape in Northland and moved to Auckland with his family at age 11. After a brief foray as a mildly delinquent "teddy boy" in his teens, he joined the army and never looked back.
"The army was always at the centre of his life and he was always very disciplined," Sandra said.
"He always looked after me and made sure my car was warranted and registered on time.
"I will miss those things and I will miss him - he was a lovely man and he was always straight up with no bull about him."
Sandra and Pike were married in 1987 and they enjoyed 33 happy years with many good experiences living in Whanganui and Turakina. They ran the Castlecliff Camp store together and Sandra said she has a lot of good memories of those times.
Pike shared a number of stories with the Chronicle and he was delighted to be one of a group of Whanganui-based veterans invited to meet Prince Harry during his visit in 2015.
Pike recalled that he served as a quarter guard for Harry's parents Charles and Diana when they visited New Zealand in 1983.
In 2017, Pike shared a less happy memory of serving as a warrant officer with the New Zealand team in Antarctica when the Mt Erebus disaster occurred in 1979.
It was a harrowing experience that he was never able to forget. He received a special commendation for his leadership during the aftermath of the tragedy.
Pike's funeral service was held at the Cleveland Funeral Home yesterday.
That service was followed by a Full Military Honours Service before his burial at the Servicemen's Lawn Cemetery at Aramoho.