Terry Mackenroth has been remembered as a proud Queenslander who rose from apprentice tradie to state political heavyweight.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, former premier Peter Beattie and rugby league coaching great Wayne Bennett were among the 800 mourners at the former deputy premier’s state funeral on a rainy Tuesday in Brisbane.
Mr Mackenroth served in state parliament for 28 years, including as a Labor minister in eight portfolios.
Ms Palaszczuk fought off tears while farewelling him.
She described him as a legend with some of his biggest contributions in sport and infrastructure, helping Brisbane’s graduation from big country town to bustling city.
“He has left Queensland in a better place,” Ms Palaszczuk told the service.
“Goodbye, my friend.”
In retirement he served as a mentor and inspiration after Labor was all but obliterated by Campbell Newman in the 2012 election, before winning back power after just one term in opposition.
“Terry Mackenroth never flinched,” Ms Palaszczuk told mourners.
“He was a master tactician. His astute political skills where acquired in the school of hard knocks, which is how Queensland politics played out in the late 1970s and 80s.
“He was tough but fair. You might not like what he said, but you knew exactly where you stood. That’s why all sides of politics respected him. That’s rare.
“Terry was there with us all the way.”
The 68-year-old died last week, less than a fortnight after a tumour was found on his lung.
Jackie Trad, Kate Jones, Stirling Hinchliffe, Yvette D’Ath, Steven Miles and Grace Grace were among the state Labor frontbenchers in attendance.
Opposition Leader Deb Freckilngton, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, former governor-general Quentin Bryce and state police commissioner Ian Stewart were also at the Catholic service.
Former minister Glen Milliner was a pallbearer, while former premier Russell Cooper attended.
Mr Mackenroth was an avid rugby league fan, with leading figures in the game such as Brisbane Broncos coach Bennett and ex-n Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant in attendance.
Paul Mackenroth said his uncle, who left school at 15 to work as a labourer before becoming a welder then business owner, had a “huge heart”.
“(He would) take as much time to talk to the man on the street as with the premier,” Paul Mackenroth said.
Mr Mackenroth is survived by his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren.