Born in Coonamble in 1922, the late John Smith was the proud son of a Gallipoli veteran and small business owners. During the early years of John's life the family lived at Wongarbon, Dubbo, and then Midway, about 23 kilometres from Dubbo.
As a young man, travelling into town on his Indian Scout motorbike for fish and chips, or to watch a movie at the Monarch Theatre, were highlights for John. During the war, when farmers were only allowed 4.5 litres of fuel each month, John would save up a couple of months' worth just to treat himself with the trips to town.
While disappointed the Australian Army would not let him serve in the war, John kept working on the family farm and after the war ended he went to a "welcome home" dance and gymkhana for returned soldiers at Ballimore.
Violet Jenkins caught John's eye at the dance and the pair realised they lived not far apart and were almost neighbours. A seven-decade-long love story began.
John's work ethic soon took him to a sawmill near Cobar, where he secured a job opportunity. Throughout his life John would go on to have many different occupations, including working as a wrecking yard operator, welder, mechanic, butter maker, milkman, bus driver and upholsterer.
In 1948 he purchased a Model T Ford one-tonne truck for a "couple of quid" and rebuilt it so he could visit his beloved Violet.
The pair's love did not waiver and they married in 1949.
John and Vi, as she was affectionately known, built their first home in Dubbo at the turn of the century. In 1957 the couple bought an old building in Brisbane Street, North Dubbo. They turned it into a home and workshop where they lived for 62 years. Vi often worked in the garden while John was working on the house or in the shed fixing vehicles.
John restored old cars as a profession for about three decades before he "retired".
In 1968 he found the remains of a 1912 Model T Ford touring car and spent two years restoring it. The vehicle's first trip was from Sydney to Melbourne and it was part of many rallies.
In later years John, Vi and their dog Jedda often travelled on outback roads across Australia. They preferred the bush over the city and regularly ventured out with their camp trailer in tow.
John continued to restore cars during his twilight years and completed his final restoration of a 1915 Model T Roadster at age 95.
Vi and John celebrated 70 years of marriage in February this year.
John's health worsened and he died peacefully with Vi by his side on October 26.
He was 97 and according to son Peter, he could still recall the names of most of his school mates and various Dubbo landmarks.