The soundtrack for Mike Price's farewell service was Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, beginning with the solemn Funeral for a Friend and progressing to the up-tempo dance tracks he enjoyed.
The business owner, technical whiz, dad, granddad and radio ham died peacefully surrounded by his three children in Whanganui Hospital on January 5.
He was a friend to many in the Whanganui community, and Murray Woodhouse knew him as a friend, neighbour and long-time business partner who founded the successful software company Proaxiom with him in 1998.
"Mike received his cancer diagnosis some time ago," Woodhouse said.
"He knew he had limited time but he thought he would have longer. He had retired from the company and bought a caravan he was hoping to restore and take on the road. Sadly he was not able to have that adventure."
Travel and adventure were constants in Mike's life and his family and friends recounted a number of travel anecdotes at his live-streamed tribute service held at Cleveland Funeral Home followed by an after-party at Frank Bar and Eatery on January 11.
Mike had friends and family all over the world, including siblings in his native England, and the "wonders of technology" were praised several times during the service for enabling absent friends and loved ones to tune in.
"I am proud of my dad who walked to the beat of his own drum," daughter Julia said.
"He was the most enthusiastic and supportive father and I cherish all the family time we had together. He was up for any occasion and loved to celebrate and gather with friends and family."
Julia gave birth to Mike's first grandchild Georgia Bean eight months ago.
"Dad was very excited to become a granddad and I'm so glad he got to meet her," she said.
Sam Price described his father's woeful attempts to make pizza on the barbecue as well as recalling a 2020 father and son road trip around New Zealand's East Cape while reciting favourite Monty Python sketches along the way.
"There weren't many tourists around at the time so we pretty much had the entire area to ourselves. We had a great time driving down just about every side road we came across and uncovering hidden gems," Sam said.
"I have some great memories and I'm so glad we got to do it."
Younger sister Meghan said although her father had been "taken too soon", he had left her with wonderful memories and she would even cherish the ones of his embarrassing "dad jokes" and his endless chat about radio.
"I have made a New Year's resolution to embrace life with the same level of positivity and enthusiasm that dad did," Meghan said.
Mike, who was 64, was born in the county of Cheshire in northwest England and his family said he was "born curious" with a fascination for gadgetry.
"His first job was developing engineering software for a ballbearing factory," Julia said.
His children said although Mike had separated from their mother Sara some years ago, their parents were still good friends and family to each other.
Before moving to New Zealand, Mike and Sara lived and worked in different places, including Düsseldorf, and Mike spoke passable German which came in handy when they later visited the country with friends and their small children on holiday.
The couple moved to Auckland in 1992 and later moved to Wellington. Sara moved to Whanganui with the two younger children when they separated and Mike later decided to make it his home base as business partner Woodhouse had also made the move from Wellington. They would later move their business and Proaxiom began operating in Whanganui in 2015.
As well as his work with Proaxiom, Mike was the national co-ordinator of GovHack Aotearoa - a festival of ideas using open government data to make communities better places.
The role involved a lot of transtasman travel and Mike organised a number of collaborative events in Whanganui.
Masina Kenworthy met Mike through a GovHack event when she was managing the former Whanganui Computer Clubhouse around six years ago.
"Mike offered me a job with Proaxiom and I loved working with him," she said.
"The only bad thing I could say about him is that he could never say 'no'. He always wanted to help everyone who asked for help and that could be stressful sometimes. He was a lovely man and he really inspired and supported me in my professional development."
Melita Farley, of Whanganui multimedia company Double Farley, also met Mike through a GovHack collaboration.
"It was always lovely to see Mike," she said.
"He was often working away from Whanganui so it was always nice to see him at the markets or around town. He was one of those people it was a pleasure to bump into so it's sad we won't see him any more."
Another passion for Mike was ham radio which he discovered when he moved to Aramoho and met his neighbour John Love who introduced him to the Wanganui Amateur Radio Society.
Mike was hooked and joined regular "HamCram" weekends with club members as well as attending sessions in other centres. He even erected a receiver tower in his backyard.
Woodhouse said he was yet to fully register the absence of a person who had been such a constant in his life for 25 years.
"I think of Mike's 'Pythonesque' sense of humour and I know he would find it amusing that he will still be my neighbour because the Aramoho Cemetery adjoins my property on two sides."
Woodhouse said in all the years of friendship and business partnership there had been occasional differences of opinion but never an argument with Mike Price.