GRAFTON has farewelled a man who was synonymous with Clarence Valley sporting life for almost 70 years.

Nearly 200 people gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in Grafton yesterday afternoon to pay their last respects to former Daily Examiner sports editor Norman Maxwell Godbee.

Mr Godbee, 86, died at the Grafton Nursing Home on July 18.

Jim Dougherty, a close friend and clubmate of 50 years at the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club, delivered a fond and well-researched eulogy.

He revealed Max was born on September 16, 1930, the seventh of 10 children of Barney and Gladys Godbee of Goolmangar, near Lismore.

The coffin of Max Godbee OAM is carried from the Christ Church Cathedral after his funeral.
The coffin of Max Godbee OAM is carried from the Christ Church Cathedral after his funeral. Adam Hourigan

The family moved to South Grafton in the 1930s and Mr Godbee completed his schooling at South Grafton High School.

A keen sportsman, Mr Godbee tried many sports, including rugby league, cricket, boxing and hockey, but it was at athletics he excelled.

In 1958 Mr Godbee married a young journalist Lauretta McNab and the couple bought land and built a house at 88 Tyson St, South Grafton.

They had two children, Michelle in 1960 and Paul in 1963.

Mr Dougherty said Max had at least two jobs before his switch to journalism in the 1970s.

He worked as an electrical fitter with Ron Sykes and then for Eric McLennans' Motor Rewinding Workshop, in Victoria St.

But his work as a publicity officer for the surf life saving club and his coverage of Group 1 rugby league opened up the opportunity to fully indulge his passion for sport as The Daily Examiner sports editor.

Mr Dougherty praised his friend's many achievements in sport as a competitor and administrator, culminating in an OAM for service to local sport and life memberships at club, branch, state and national levels in surf lifesaving.

But he also recalled a lively man, who was a lot of fun to have around and who he was proud to call a mate.

Mr Godbee's grandson Chris O'Dowd, accompanied by his brother, Tim, spoke next.

Mr O'Dowd recalled as a three-year-old being allowed to touch the Olympic Torch which Papa had just carried during the torch relay.

"Papa was never a tall man, but at the time he seemed like a giant," Mr O'Dowd said.

"As soon as he finished his run, he stopped and let Tim and I touch the torch.

"I just thought wow, how could he hold this with one hand and run at the same time.

"It always brought back memories when I saw it on the bench at his house."

After the funeral Mr Godbee was privately cremated.

He is survived by his two children Michelle and Paul, and grandchildren Chris and Timothy. His wife, Lauretta, died in 2014.

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