Elley Toparis was the picture of a man on the move as he bustled around his fruit and vegetable shop.
If he wasn't replenishing stocks he was ensuring his employees were paying attention to detail.
Over his long working life in Goulburn business, Elley taught hundreds of people how to work, daughter Gina McIntosh reflected this week. Later, they would return to thank him.
The well known former businessman died in Goulburn Base Hospital on February 7, 2024, aged eighty-eight. Community members have paid tribute to him as one of Goulburn's "true characters" and "a gentleman."
His upbringing shaped his longevity in business.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1935 to Greek parents, Con and Maria, he was the third of six children. His siblings were Paul, Tessie, George, Basil and Nick. Their parents worked as market gardeners.
Elley was educated in Egypt and as a child, endured World War Two's impact. Gina said her father came to know whether he was safe from the way bombs whistled through the air and landed. He suffered tinnitus throughout his life as a result of the bombings.
In 1949, the family packed up for a more peaceful life in Australia. After a brief stay in Melbourne, they moved to Goulburn where the children's aunt, Cynthia Pandelakis lived.
"It was tough for them...It wasn't long before they were accepted though because they all worked really hard," Gina said.
At school, Elley stood up for any of his siblings who were bullied. Gina said he was "the strong man of the family but always had a soft and gentle nature."
The Greek community was active in Goulburn's food scene in the 1950s, from The Paragon to the Blue and White cafe and many more.
Tony Lamarra, who ran the Saint Marco Coffee Lounge in Auburn Street said the Toparis's first shop was named From a Needle to an Anchor, selling fruit and vegetables and everything in between.
They established market gardens on the Wollondilly River, near the current PCYC and another large farm in Hoddle Avenue.
"The whole family worked together - George, Basil and Elley in construction and Paul with his father in the shop," Mr Lamarra said.
"Tessie became one of the best classic piano players in Goulburn."
Gina said her grandfather started the Green Valley Cafe in northern Auburn Street in the 1950s. His sons were involved in the business, which also supplied fruit and vegetables to Goulburn businesses. The Green Valley was one of several cafe ventures the family started.
Elley and his brothers drove trucks, picked up produce from Sydney and transported it back to Goulburn and the southern region.
He also ventured into construction, as did Basil, and built numerous houses and units around town.
Amid the busyness, he couldn't help but notice Vayle McKellar as she rode a borrowed horse through the market garden one day. The relationship bloomed, Elley bought her a horse of her own and they married in 1959.
His best friend, Theo Karkatzis, whose family ran the Paragon Cafe, married Vayle's best friend, Angie Clack, at the same time.
Elley and Vayle enjoyed what Gina said was a long and happy marriage which only ended with her mother's passing in 2019.
They moved briefly to Sydney where Elley worked in construction to save enough money to build a home. After shifting back to Goulburn he constructed the house in View Street.
The couple reared two children, Gina, born in 1959 and Con in 1965. He taught his daughter how to drive, change a tyre and later helped her raise her own three children. At home, he cooked tasty meals for his family.
Gina said her parents enjoyed social occasions and her father would join in when he wasn't working.
"Dad was very easy going and nothing fazed him," Gina said.
"He was mostly working and providing for his family but we never wanted for anything. He bought me horses and I was lucky enough to represent Australia (in barrel racing) and he supported Con with his motorcycle and car racing."
Elley struck out on his own, like his brothers, and later started the Elsmarket Barn in Ellesmere Street. His children also worked there, as did many others.
"He helped a lot of people and took them under his wing. People said he taught them how to work and learnt from him," Gina said.
Mr Lamarra said the Toparis's were "good-hearted people" who looked out for others, while Elley was honest and hard working with an eye on the future.
"You can see how that reflects in the family today," he said.
Elley sold the Elsmarket Barn and helped son, Con, start the Greengrocer Cafe in the early 2000s. It became one of the city's most popular eateries over the next 20 years and a mecca for cyclists.
More than 20 years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, after which he "took things easier," Gina said.
Dementia followed and in more recent years, following Vayle's death, his children cared for him. Gina said the only blessing of the condition was that Elley was not aware of his son, Con's death on February 16, 2023. The keen cyclist died after a collision with a motorbike.
"He was big-hearted and would give you anything. He'd give people the shirt off his back if he could," Gina said.
"...Dad was good company and easy to love and have around."
She was beside him when he died peacefully in hospital. Gina thanked Dr Tony Whelan, hospital staff and carers at Warrigal where her father attended Club Connect.
Elley is also survived by his five grandchildren Elle-Vale, Louis, Raphael, Eli and Costa, and his siblings. His brother, Paul, predeceased him.
Elley's funeral will be held at Saint Panteleimon's Greek Orthodox church, 11 Macalister Drive, Goulburn at 2pm on Wednesday, February 14. Interment will follow at Goulburn Lawn Cemetery.