GENEROUS with his time and experience, Ballarat community leaders are paying tribute to a man they say is a true icon of this city.
They remember David Haymes as a man who always championed for the betterment of Ballarat, a visionary rising above politics.
Former Ballarat mayor and Ballarat Specialist School principal John Burt said Mr Haymes simply "epitomised what human beings should be to each other".
Mr Haymes, the man who realigned and reinvigorated the family paint business, died on Monday, aged 77.
"He was very generous, not just with his money but with his time and advice in Ballarat. He always had time for you," Mr Burt said.
"The advice he gave was always very, very profitable."
Mr Burt's brother Daryl Burt, a former McDonald's owner, was a close friend of Mr Haymes.
Daryl Burt, fellow McDonald's owner Peter Davies and Ballarat Holden's Peter Amor would go on sailing adventures with Mr Haymes, always returning with great stories for family and friends.
John Burt said they would always look after each other, have "good, wholesome fun". Mr Haymes survived all three.
Mr Burt urged the Ballarat community to support the Hames family, in particularly Mr Haymes' wife Jenny, who had offered Mr Haymes so much support both in his health and the work he did for Ballarat.
One of Mr Haymes' fondest memories was stepping in as The Courier's editor-for-a-day. He kept a photo at the editor's desk in his personal office.
The Courier's former editor Angela Carey, who was chief-of-staff at the time, said Mr Haymes "was like a kid in a candy store" with the chance to build Ballarat up and promote good stories in his edition.
See all the tributes that flowed on Facebook below.
Mr Haymes was a long-serving member on The Courier's advisory board.
"David was always really interested in The Courier and The Courier's role in strengthening the community. He wasn't interested in any political games," Ms Carey said.
"When David was around the table in advisory board meetings, his focus was always on how to make Ballarat a better place and that was his mission in her personal life as well."
Ms Carey said Mr Haymes was vibrant and big in personality but never sported an ego. She said he was genuine, humble and proud of his family - and he loved the lake and sharing stories of his time at the lake.
"I feel really proud to have known David," Ms Carey said. "I always came away from meeting him with new thoughts and learnings, new snippets of intelligence.
"He gave and gave and gave."
In The Courier edition under his guardianship, May 5 1999, Mr Haymes said residents were lucky to live in a city with much to offer: "I guess I'm one of the lucky few to realise my goals, dreams and ambitions without having to move away from my roots".
Mr Haymes remained a proud Ballarat Clarendon College alumnus and remained an avid learner.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business from the University of Ballarat in May 2002 for "his outstanding service to business and the community" where he served as chairman of the University of Ballarat (now Federation University) School of Business advisory board.
Robert Hook, who played a driving role in gaining university status for University of Ballarat, was this week appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday honours. Mr Haymes was one of the first people to ring and congratulate him.
Mr Hook first got to know Mr Haymes through their children, living in the same neighbourhood, and later when serving with Jenny Haymes on the board at Kelaston.
He was a friend and mentor.
"David Haymes was one of the great leaders of this city. Whenever there was an issue in this city, people would go and talk to David about it," Mr Hook said. He was offered an honourary doctorate with University of Ballarat. He also later did a Harvard intensive course.
"I used to have lunch with him and learn so much."
Mr Hook said Mr Haymes and his family set a high standard in support for community organisations and preserving Ballarat culture.
The Haymes family purchased The Max Harris Collection of historic photographs and presented it to the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute in 2016.
Mr Haymes told The Courier at the time, it was unthinkable that the collection could be lost to Ballarat or broken up.
Committee for Ballarat has paid tribute to one of its founding members, highlighting Mr Haymes' passion and vision for the city.
"David's willingness to step outside his own organisation and provide true community leadership inspired us all to do more, to do better", a Committee for Ballarat statement read.
Committee for Ballarat inaugural chairman Noel Coxall described Mr Haymes as an inspirational leader.
"When I was younger I used to love hearing him speak at public events. When you left you always felt inspired to do more for our community," Mr Coxall said.
"Later on when setting up the Committee For Ballarat, I loved using David as a sounding board and a moral compass. His contribution to our great city is far reaching and something his family should be incredibly proud of."
These thoughts are echoed by City of Ballarat councillor and former mayor Samantha McIntosh, who said Mr Haymes was a natural leader and was someone you aspired to lead like.
"David has been one of the most outstanding personalities for Ballarat. He has always certainly shined so bright," Cr McIntosh said. "He was a gentleman with great stories, charisma and ethics and he valued family so much.
"David absolutely cared about Ballarat history and heritage...The work he also did with Family Business Australia and at a community level really says a huge amount about who he is.
"That contribution was shared because he cared about community and this was done in the most kind, deep-seated way."
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