Many people in the Central West know Jeff Hort as an industrial business owner, a key figure and employer in the region.
However, with Mr Hort's death a few days ago his amazing past including being an Aussie Rules up-and-coming star, a talented singer, a mining engineer who worked overseas, a sawmiller and a familyman has been revealed.
Mr Hort died, aged 82, last Friday August 6 after battling illness for several years.
His daughter Kerry White said her father was born in Warburton in Victoria in 1939 as World War II was about to start and bushfires were ravaging the region.
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She said he left school in Year 10 and with sporting prowess trialled with Aussie Rules club Hawthorn before his career ended when he injured his back, aged 18, while helping his local team win a premiership.
"Dad was best and fairest. He never played football again as he had fractured his spine and spent the next eight months in Prince Henry Hospital in Melbourne in a plaster cast," she said.
"Dad had a beautiful singing voice and sang with Diana Trask and Ernie Sigley in their early days," she said.
She said her parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year.
Mr Hort worked in many places before moving to Orange where he established Hort Engineering in Kenna Street in 1995.
Mr Hort's son Craig Hort said it was a "one man show" which has now grown into the major company Hort Enterprises with sites in five Central West areas, including on Yarrandale Road in Dubbo.
"Anyone that knew dad would know that he was a visionary, and he certainly had a vision for Orange," he said.
"One of the biggest passions that dad had was training, and especially training apprentices."
He said he calculated the business helped 157 people with training as of last year.
"Even though Dad retired from the day to day running of the business some years ago, he was still playing a significant role on the board," he said.
Mr Hort is survived by wife Rae Hort, children Kerry White, Jeffrey Hort, Heather Craig and Craig Hort, grandchildren Mathew and Luke Hort, Rebecca, Melissa and Rachel Craig, Jessica Hort, Laura White, Natalie Prebble and Brendon White and four great grandchildren Van Hort, Ivy Hort and Cooper and Brock Prebble.
Mr Hort will have a private funeral with a Zoom-link at 11am on Friday.
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