Brothers David, Stephen, Robert, Timothy, Christopher, Andrew, Michael, Thomas and John Duffy know the "absolute love" of their mother Cath.
She was their "constant" before and after the devastating death of their father and her husband, solicitor Michael Duffy, at the age of 53.
Mrs Duffy was grief-stricken by his passing but for the sake of the family and herself looked to the future.
A woman "defined by benevolence", she trained as a marriage counsellor.
In both her personal and professional lives, Cath Duffy showed others compassion and care.
"She had an amazing capacity for kindness," second son and Dubbo solicitor Stephen Duffy said.
"She had a very big heart and opened it to many people, particularly those she thought were on the outer or in need of a bit of attention or acknowledgement."
Alzheimer's disease led to the death of Catherine Josephine Duffy, 85, on May 14 at John Whittle House, her home for about four years.
Her life was celebrated by a large crowd at a requiem mass at Dubbo's St Brigid's Church on May 18.
"If mum was sitting in the congregation here today, she could not wait to get out into the churchyard to catch up with every one of you," Stephen Duffy said at the funeral.
Cath Duffy grew up in Sydney, the youngest of five children in a working class family of New Zealand immigrants.
Family circumstances dictated the "very bright student" take up hairdressing.
She met her "perfect" match at a dance and after an 18-month courtship Michael Duffy proposed marriage.
After their 1955 wedding, the couple settled in Dubbo and started a family that now includes nine children, 20 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Cath Duffy's sons have paid tribute to the "hub, the glue" of their family who used the "most withering of silences" to maintain order in the house.
"We found it unbearable," Stephen Duffy said.
"We would round up and pummel the offenders, who would then make an abject apology to mum.
"Sometimes we all had to abjectly apologise.
"Mum would relent and hug and kiss and forgive us."