FRIENDS and family have remembered David Mertens as a dedicated worker who would do anything to help a mate.
Thales employees were among those forming an honour-guard as he left the funeral service.
A Bushmaster then escorted him past the Bendigo factory where he worked for 46 years.
Mr Mertens, or "Sox" as he was known around the Finn Street factory, started in 1974 as a 15-year-old apprentice, Thales operations manager Murray Brown said.
"He was a great workmate and would help anyone at the drop of a hat, whenever they needed it," he said.
"He loved his work and it gave him great satisfaction to interact with and help other people."
Mr Mertens was a highly respected tradesman before developing an interest in computers and becoming a guru for the site's finance, purchasing, sales, productions and stores business systems, Mr Brown said.
"All of this was self-taught the old-fashioned way by referencing text-books and manuals, which was amazing," he said.
"It turned him into the unofficial IT help desk at Bendigo.
"The reports and data extracts he developed continue to be used by us today to manage the business and make sure it continues to function."
Mr Merten's manager Ewan Abercombie said once you got to know Dave you liked him.
"He just had a personality you liked," he said.
A sharply intelligent and meticulous problem solver, Mr Mertens could handle any issue he put his mind to both at work and at home, brother-in-law Graham Abercrombie said.
Outside of work, Mr Mertens spent many weekends renovating a property at White Hills.
"When he was renovating houses he told me a couple of things he was doing and it amazed me," Mr Abercrombie said.
"My first impressions of David was that he was a quiet, unassuming person, but that did not mean he was not part of what was going on.
"With his funny little smile and wink you would always laugh."
Mr Murray said he spent many nights on a houseboat with Sox as well as Bazza, Wogga, Dunny, Pinchy, Rick, Felix, Blinky, Dicko and Beechy, who tried not to talk about work too much.
"Although they were called fishing trips I never actually saw Dave bring a fishing rod to any of them. He was there more for the social activities," he said.
The dearly loved partner and best friend of Shirley Whitford died on 8 October aged 62.
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