Shepparton's Alex Goulopoulos was known by many for his passion for his orchard.
Growing quality fruit was in his blood and with it came hard work, resilience and a love for the local community.
The local orchardist, adored husband, father and grandfather died on July 17 aged 68, surrounded by his family at Shepparton Private Hospital.
Alex was a cherished husband to Kayleen, a loving father to Julie, Belinda, Prudence and Nicholas, and a proud grandfather to James, Tilly, Jack, Alexander, Ella and Mason.
Born in Paroria, Greece in 1951, he and his mother Fotina made the journey to Australia in 1956 where they were reunited with his father Nicholas in Melbourne.
After moving to Shepparton East a short time later, Nicholas purchased an orchard on School Rd which Alex eventually took over in 1993 and where he lived with his family until his death.
In his younger years Alex loved sport, and played tennis for Central Park and Bunbartha Tennis Club.
He went on to serve on the Central Park committee and was later awarded a life membership with the club.
Football was also one of Alex's passions; he played for Shepparton East Football Club and later served on its committee.
“He won the third 18 Best and Fairest, played in their 1972 senior 18 premiership side and earned the nickname Jezza,” Alex's family said in his eulogy.
Alex was known for his community spirit and dedicated many hours to serving on various committees within the local community.
In 1974 he met Kayleen at Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club.
Four years later they tied the knot on May 20, 1978, and began adding their four children — Julie, Belinda, Prudence and Nicholas — to the family.
“In 1993 Alex took over the orchard from his father; Alex and Kayleen worked hard, and had a large following of customers at the markets where they sold their fruit,” his family said.
While his orchard was his passion, Alex also worked for 21 years at Higgins Bakery in Shepparton as a delivery driver.
His family said he had fond memories of the job, admitting he thoroughly enjoyed icing and later eating the sweet buns from the bakery.
Alex also loved travelling the globe, and visited New Zealand, the United States and Europe a number of times where he and Kayleen travelled to the village of Paroria in Greece where he was born.
“Alex always said if you get a chance to travel, you do it, because you don’t know what’s around the corner,” his family said.
Family holidays were also a fond memory, with regular trips to the Gold Coast after the fruit season had finished for the year.
“They would load up the car with the four kids and two suitcases, and set off hoping that Alex was going in the right direction,” his family wrote in his eulogy.
His family also fondly remembers many trips to Melbourne, with the Queen Victoria Market always a stop on their list when in the big city.
In 2010 Alex and Kayleen welcomed their first grandchild, James, into the family.
In the years following the Goulopoulos family continued to grow with the addition of grandchildren Tilly, Jack, Alexander, Ella and Mason.
Alex's family described him as a doting grandfather, someone who loved the children visiting him on the farm and being able to share his passion with them.
“Alex loved all of the grandchildren visiting and taking them out around the orchard in a couple of fruit bins on the back of the tractor,” they said during his eulogy.
“Alex was always able to answer calls from the grandchildren via FaceTime, although he was unsure of how to make a call himself.”
Alex's family has remembered him for his generous spirit, friendly nature and his love for adventure.
While his death has left a huge hole in the lives of the Shepparton East family, all agreed he would be remembered through the legacy he left behind in his children and grandchildren.