Tributes have poured in for former governor-general Michael Jeffery following his death aged 83.
The nation’s 24th governor-general has been lauded as a warm, dignified and great Australian.
Major General Jeffery served in the role from 2003 to 2008 after seven years as West Australian governor from 1993 to 2000.
He died on Friday morning and is survived by his wife, Marlena Kerr, their three sons and daughter and seven grandchildren.
The man who appointed him to the top job, former prime minister John Howard, said Major General Jeffery had distinguished himself with a lifetime of service to his country.
Mr Howard said it had been his honour to recommend his appointment to the Queen.
“Subsequently, it was my privilege to work with him as he and his charming wife, Marlena, discharged their duties with grace and commitment,” he added.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also praised “a remarkable man who I am proud to call a friend”, noting that the major general had risen to the top ranks of the Australian Defence Force during a 35-year military career wich began in 1958.
“Major General Jeffery will be remembered as a brave soldier, a dedicated Governor and Governor-General and a passionate defender of the causes he believed in,” he said in a statement.
Current Governor-General David Hurley said he was saddened to hear of his predecessor’s death.
He said Major General Jeffery had served in Malaya, Borneo and Papua New Guinea and was awarded the Military Cross in Vietnam during a distinguished military career.
After his public service, he had also been Australia’s first soil health advocate.
“Throughout his career – in its many iterations – he worked tirelessly put others ahead of himself and brought immense intellect, work ethic and commitment to everything he did,” General Hurley said in a statement.
“Unfailingly polite, he was quite simply a gentleman.”