Tributes have been paid to Mr Herbert Gooder, a wartime flying hero who returned to Brighouse in 1946 and played an active part in the life of the town for more than 40 years.
Mr Gooder, who was 89, died in hospital after a short illness.
In a lifetime of public service, Mr Gooder was Mayor of Brighouse from 1969 to 70, was elected to represent the Hipperholme ward on the former Brighouse Borough Council in 1952 and was a founder member of Brighouse Round Table and former president of Brighouse Round Table.
As a young man he was a playing member at the Old Brodleians Rugby Club and secretary at Lightcliffe Golf Club where the flag has been flying at half-mast in tribute.
Education was a life-long passion and Mr Gooder had an association with the former Rastrick Grammar School that began when he was a schoolboy there and continued until his death. He was chairman of the governors from 1955 until the school merged with Reinswood Secondary School. He then became a governor of Rastrick Grammar School from 1985 to 1988 and was a trustee of the Rastrick Grammar School Foundation until March this year.
In the second world war he completed a tour of 33 bombing operations over Germany and occupied Europe with 102 Squadron Bomber Command and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1946 he married Margaret and the couple had one son, Paul.
Mr Gooder, of Hipperholme, worked as a solicitor in Brighouse and practised at Chambers and Co in Bradford Road until 1988.
He was instrumental in setting up Heart Research UK which pioneered heart transplant surgery at Killingbeck Hospital from 1967 and he acted as trustee and legal adviser to the charity for many years.
Paul said: “My dad was a very modest man and rarely talked about his achievements but I think it was his work with Heart Research UK that meant most to him.
“We are very grateful that he led such an active, independent life until shortly before he died.”
Mr Geoff Barratt, a lifelong friend and colleague through Brighouse Rotary Club and the governing body of Rastrick Grammar School, said Mr Gooder was ‘a true gentleman and friend to many’.
Mr David Knox, administrator of Rastrick Grammar School Foundation, said an interest in education was a big part of Mr Gooder’s life.
“He firmly believed that he got where he was through education and he believed in passing that on to the young people of today.”
Helen Lennie, head teacher at Rastrick High School, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Herbert Gooder. As a long serving member of the Foundation Trustees of Rastrick Grammar School, Herbert loyally supported Rastrick High School from its inception in 1985 and became a real friend of the school.
“His genuine interest in the school and our students and his regular attendance at all the school’s major events over the years have been much appreciated by us all.”
As well as one son, Paul, Mr Gooder had three grandsons and one great-grandson.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday, July 9 at St Matthre’s Church, Lightcliffe, at 1.30pm.