NORM Houghton, a man regarded as one of the pioneers of the rice industry in Leeton shire, died last Friday.
Mr Houghton, 86, formerly of Farm 1687 and Assumption Villa, was recognised as a leader of rice agriculture.
He was recognised by the Ricegrowers' Association of Australia (RGA) for his 50 years of membership to the organisation at its conference in Leeton in 2010.
"Norm was a hard-working and highly respected rice grower all his life," RGA executive director Ruth Wade said.
"He and Yvonne identified the rice industry as one on where they could build a strong future for their family.
"Although he faced many challenges and saw significant change through the years, Norm remained a passionate supporter of the industry.
"He joined RGA in 1955 and his contribution was recognised at the RGA's 80th Annual Conference in Leeton in 2010."
As a young man, Mr Houghton was selected to play professional football with Canterbury, but gave up a promising career to run his farm and raise his family.
Mr Houghton and his wife, Yvonne, had eight children - Sue, Tess, Chris, Von, Robert, John, Matt and Fiona.
As well as having a reputation of employing great farming practices in the shire, Mr Houghton was also a tireless community leader.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of Leeton for more than 50 years, including a stints as president and various other officer bearers.
Mr Houghton was a long-standing member on the boards of Assumption Villa, where he and his wife celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year, and Eventide Homes.
He was also named a lifelong citizen to Leeton shire in 2013 at the town's Australia Day awards.
Mr Houghton is survived by his wife Yvonne, his children and their partners and his 27 grandchildren.
A requiem mass will be held for Mr Houghton on Tuesday at St Joseph's Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the palliative care unit at Leeton District Hospital.