"Just like the weather - what will be, will be."
These are the words of farmer Norm Suckling, who was tragically killed while riding his motorcycle near Bendigo in late October.
It was standing room only as hundreds of people filed into the Mercure Ballarat Hotel to pay their respects to the potato farmer, motorcyclist, community advocate and Country Fire Authority volunteer of almost 50 years on Friday afternoon.
During the moving service Norm was remembered by his family, friends, biker friends, a former employee and CFA members as a wise, loyal, independent and down to earth person who would lend a helping hand to anybody.
Growing up in Hepburn Shire and attending primary school in Mollongghip before going on to attend Daylesford Tech School, he left school in form five to become a farmer.
Working the tractor and ploughing fields he saved up enough money to buy a truck which he used to deliver potatoes to the Footscray market at 2am.
He continued saving, going on to purchase the first in his trucking empire and his first piece of farmland from his uncle in Mollongghip.
Over the years he purchased more land both in Mollongghip and nearby Kingston and established himself as a clever and well-respected farmer - one who always stood up for what he believed in, whether it be a fair go for farmers and the price of their produce or about water rights.
He was an innovative farmer who constantly tried new ideas and purchased new equipment - often learning how to use it better than the manufacturer.
Never shying away from a challenge, he simply loved being busy. Norm was a passionate potato farmer, loved being on committees and loved running his trucking business.
Norm was a proud father of four children, "farmer pa" to his grandchildren and a valued friend to many. Tragically Norm lost his partner of 10 years, Colleen Robertson, in a road accident in 2011.
Always up for a chat and known for his accurate weather forecasts, he was the type of person who knew everybody, even in the most remote parts of Australia.
He went on many great adventures both overseas to Europe and the United States of America as well as around his home country - taking to the open road with friends from the Goldfields American Motorcycle Club.
Passionate about community, he was a valued volunteer firefighter with almost 50 years of service and was an acclaimed mentor to many.
Joining Mollongghip brigade in 1971 he served as captain for 22 years - ending in 2005 - before taking on other roles within the CFA, such as the Deputy Group Officer role.
Norm was a highly experienced member of the Birch group of brigades and provided invaluable leadership and guidance through mentoring many younger members.
A guard of honour was formed by firefighters as a final farewell was given to the highly-respected and passionate mentor.
Norm Suckling - 1955 until 2019.
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