LEETON'S Anthony Boots was a man who had a great passion for all of the important things in life - family, friends and building on his dreams.
Mr Boots passed away suddenly on October 12 at the age of 42 years, devastating those who were closest to him.
A man of many nicknames, "Anthony", "Tones", "Tony", "Bootsy" was loved by many.
For years, Mr Boots had been putting his blood, sweat, tears and vision into maintaining and upgrading one of Leeton's most iconic buildings - the Historic Hydro Motor Inn.
This work will be his legacy moving forward as friends and family have promised to work to keep his dream and vision ongoing.
A Sydney Swans tragic, Mr Boots was known for his passionate support of the AFL club, as well as his love of golf, cricket, Snoop Dogg and the pet cats that lived at the Hydro.
Born and bred in Leeton, he completed his primary studies at Leeton Public School before making his way through his secondary years at Leeton High School.
After this he started tertiary studies at Charles Sturt University in Wagga before deciding to move to Melbourne where he finished his degree at La Trobe University.
During this time he made numerous friends and connections. Mr Boots then decided to return home where he started his own business in the group training sector.
An opportunity to take over and later purchase the Historic Hydro arose in the years that followed and a new dream and plan of action started to come into focus.
The Hydro holds a place in many people's hearts both in Leeton and across the country due its history and heritage. Its charm was not lost on Mr Boots for it too became more than just a career opportunity.
It was his home and the place he met his partner Rose, described as the "most important person in his life" by his friends and family.
"Those closest to him could only admire and respect his willingness and drive to achieve his goals and visions, not only for the Hydro, but anything he felt would be positive not only for himself, but those he cared about," close friend Matt Del Guzzo said when speaking at his funeral service.
"What Anthony has achieved at the Hydro will be his legacy to many, (and) I can't help but marvel and respect his personal and professional achievements in a far too short life.
"Tony loved few things more apart from his family and friends than playing golf and his Sydney Swans AFL team.
"Whether it was the time we spent before, during and after playing golf, talking on the phone or just sitting on his balcony out the back of his place talking, laughing and, sometimes arguing, about anything and everything will be one of the things I miss the most."
Mr Del Guzzo described his mate as a "man of conviction" and that is a sentiment which rings true.
"His sometimes light-hearted approach may have fooled some, but one thing Tony was, he was a man of conviction," he said.
"Conviction in the sense he knew who he was and what he wanted to do.
"Tones mostly saw things in black and white with very little grey.
"Those who spoke with him would know this and, sometimes before really knowing him, would create an impression of him that wasn't entirely accurate.
"The conviction I speak about came with a special quality ... heart. He had heart.
"When I say heart, I mean he had the courage to stand by his convictions, but would still always be there even if he didn't agree, no matter what."
For those who knew and loved him, Mr Boots had a "big brother" vibe about him, he was generous, willing to share his time and, when it came down to it, he was known to be just a "big teddy bear".
As well as being a loving partner to Rose and mentor to Dylan, Mr Boots was the much-loved son of David and Annette Boots and a brother and brother-in-law to Matthew and Karen, and Bradley and Chloe.
His nieces and nephews - Lachlan, Audrey, Lincoln and Ashton - were another big and happy part of his life.
Mr Boots was also a grandson to Tom (deceased) and Blanche Frazer, and Cecil (deceased) and Rose Boots.
"Anthony, Mum and Dad are so proud of what you accomplished in your short time, it is remarkable how much life you lived in 42 years," his brothers Matthew and Bradley said while speaking at his funeral service.
"You loved your nieces and nephews deeply.
"We promise they will grow up surrounded by pictures of you and knowing your story. The Hydro will always be 'uncle Tony's house'."
The pair also shared their memories of their brother, saying he guided them through their childhood right up until his last day.
"He loved making nicknames for people, he loved to whisper an inappropriate joke to make you laugh, but more than anything else he loved his family," Matthew and Bradley said.
"Family was his highest priority.
"Never one to reserve his thoughts, Anthony would offer help in his own unique way whether it was advice, a shoulder to cry on or an intimidating giant in your corner for a fight.
"Whenever life gets tough, we will remember our big brother and try to imagine what he might do or say."
Mr Boots was never one to dwell on the "what ifs" or "maybes", one of his sayings that sticks with those who knew him was to "put your big boy pants on and get on with it".
Those closest to him also recalled how he would often finish a conversation telling them how much he loved them, a quality and memory that now means even more.
Mr Boots' parents shared a statement read by a friend of the family during his service.
"Anthony tended to be the focal point of our family unit and, quite frankly, we wouldn't have wanted it any other way," the statement read.
"He was full of wonderful and loving support for Annette and I and, of course, his two brothers.
The conviction I speak about came with a special quality ... heart. He had heart.- Long-time friend Matt Del Guzzo
"He was so proud of Bradley, Matthew and the women they had brought into their lives and therefore our lives - Chloe and Karen.
"Anthony was a 'do-er'. His motto was 'don't die wondering'.
"We are so proud of what Anthony achieved in his short life.
"Our family would like to thank everyone for their support and words of comfort during these terribly difficult times.
"This support will be forever appreciated and gives us the strength to go forward."
Mr Boots and his legacy will continue to be felt at the Historic Hydro - a place where people can still go for their own milestones, celebrations, catch ups and where they can keep a piece of his memory alive every time they walk through the doors.
He was laid to rest during a funeral service on Friday, October 21 at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Leeton, which was followed by interment at the Leeton Lawn Cemetery.
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