THE roar from the 50 motorbikes that formed a motorcade leading to the funeral of Joe Yatras would have brought a smile to his face.
With plenty of chrome, black leather and classic machines, it was a fitting send-off for a man who shared a love for his family and friends with a love of bikes.
The chapel at the Shoalhaven Lawn Cemetery in Worrigee was overflowing on Thursday as people gathered to say farewell to a man who touched so many from different walks of life.
The eulogies were heartfelt and emotional, but many were tinged with humour which spoke of a man who, despite a life with plenty of battles, was quick to share a laugh.
Mr Yatras was a campaigner for people living with disabilities and the families caring for them.
It was in that capacity Mayor Joanna Gash first met him.
She told the crowd of the day 15 years ago when Mr Yatras brought 40 parents and children into her office to show her the need for services in the Shoalhaven.
“I certainly got the message loud and clear,” she said.
“Joe was instrumental in so many things – always behind the scenes yet so determined to be heard.
“He was instrumental in persuading Prime Minister John Howard to visit Havenlee School.
“We also shared a love of motorbikes.
“He has been a part of my life. I am most proud of his honesty and how he turned his amazing life around. Joe Yatras you were a special person on this earth.”
Joe Yatras died in a Canberra Hospital on Thursday, June 29.
He is survived by Gaynor and his children Dylan, Ethan and Elizabeth.