Mourners crammed into St Mary’s Church in Haverhill on Tuesday to celebrate the life of the popular former mayor of St Edmundsbury and Haverhill, Tim Marks.
The late borough and county councillor for Haverhill died on January 4, aged 78, while carrying out one of his many public duties - a site visit undertaken by the St Edmundsbury Council development control committee.
One of Mr Marks’ four children, Claire, paid tribute to her late dad, describing how his final day typified the man he was.
She said: “It was testament to the fact that you can’t hold a good man down. When he took on a responsibility it was done earnestly and with full commitment.
“Dad’s approach to most situations was that the person who will sort things out is you. Work hard and the rest will follow.
“We are stunned by his death. He dismissed the importance of his illness as an inconvenience and some of you said he used his nine lives over and over.”
Claire went on to outline some of the many public and civic roles performed by her father, which included being the secretary of Haverhill in Bloom (described as being a ‘great love to him’), a member of the Suffolk Police Authority and a governor at Samuel Ward Academy.
But the passions and interests in his personal life were also remembered by his daughter, who said: “As a family we will remember his humour, his talent at demolishing cryptic crosswords and his inability to play spoons.
“Dad loved big machinery. He was at home whether in a Sherman tank or a JCB digger, equally in a combine harvester or any kind of truck. His love of Jeeps or trucks remains ever present.”
Using a line from one of his favourite pieces of music, Hebrew Slaves, from Verdi’s opera, Nabucco, she said: “Rekindle the memories in our hearts, these we will treasure and take with us. God speed you dad.”
A tribute from Mr Marks widow and wife of 33 years, Margaret Marks, was read on her behalf by Sam, one of their eight grandchildren.
He said: “We had the best and worst of times, but we had these together. Tim loved people. He did not judge but he loved the company of others for the different things they brought.
“Tim loved his family and the joy of having grandchildren changed everything.
“It’s a great sadness that he will not read or hear the wonderful and extraordinary tributes that have arrived from across the world since his death.
“I would like to say thank you for our life together, for your support and love and infinite encouragement, for the life and love that we shared.
“My life is richer for knowing you and I hope I can live up to you.”
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, like Mr Marks a member of the West Suffolk Conservative group, was unable to make the service, but a message was read out on his behalf by Captain Andrew Payne, the Benefice Missioner for St Mary’s who jointly conducted the service with Reverend Canon Graham Owen.
The statement said: “Tim was the best of men, a committed family man, a stalwart of his community and a beacon of calm strength in a changing world. We will all miss him terribly.”