COMMUNITY leaders have paid tribute to former politician Bruce Reid, who passed away on the weekend, aged 84.
Mr Reid was yesterday hailed as a colossus of the Liberal Party and a champion of the city he loved. He served in both the Victorian and federal parliaments and was renowned for his passion for the Bendigo region and its people.
Mr Reid, a former national serviceman and successful small business operator, served 12 years in the Victorian Upper House from 1976 as the Member for Bendigo Province.
In 1990, while working for Curnow Dyett Real Estate, he answered the call from then Liberal leader John Howard to stand at the federal election, and subsequently defeated John Brumby to end Labor's seven year reign over the seat of Bendigo.
He was re-elected in 1993 and 1996, and spent three months serving as a parliamentary adviser to the United Nations General Assembly in New York before retiring at the 1998 federal election won by the Labor Party's Steve Gibbons.
Mr Gibbons yesterday paid tribute to Mr Reid, describing him as one of a rare breed of politicians that successfully served the community in both state and federal parliaments.
"He will be deeply missed by his former colleagues,' Mr Gibbons said.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke said Mr Reid was instrumental in helping shape Bendigo into the city it is today.
"Bruce was respectful and caring in his approach to getting the best outcome for Bendigo, and while he was a gentle man, he also fought the good fight for his community and the issues that mattered to residents.
"Bruce was an honest and trusted representative and friend to many of us. He was always on for a good chat about local events and issues, and ready with guidance and advice."
Former City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year and long time friend Ian Dyett said Mr Reid always put others before himself, without seeking a return.
"His parliamentary career was based entirely on his love and devotion to and for the people of Bendigo, no matter their race, creed, or political persuasion."
"My wife Edith and I will miss this man of great dignity and of genuine love for the people of Bendigo. His devotion to his wife Jenny and their family and hers to him was an inspiration to many."
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said Mr Reid was always a challenging voice in political debate who would be missed on the election hustings.
"Despite being from the other side of politics, Bruce was always polite, sincere and kind to me," she said.
The proud Rotarian and long-time Bendigo Sports Star committee member was also part of the original West Bendigo sports stadium committee, and a member of the Victorian Amateur Swimming Association.
His contribution to the community continued until late in his life, with stints on the boards of St Luke's Anglicare, the Bendigo Business Expo, the Discovery, Science and Technology Centre and the Bendigo Manufacturing Group.
Mr Reid's funeral service will be held on Monday, June 1, from 11am and will be streamed via www.smfd.com.au