A PILLAR of the South Croydon community who ran a successful business, was a star of local rugby and contributed much to charity has been remembered for his endless compassion and kindness.
Gerald Bowthorpe, 74, was a member of the Old Whitgiftian Association, having been to the school as a teenager.
In his youth, Mr Bowthorpe had been a talented rugby player for England Schools, Surrey and The Old Whitgiftian RFC.
He played at Twickenham on numerous occasions and was renowned for his fearsome tackling and sportsmanship.
According to his son Nigel, could have played professionally, but decided to remain loyal to his local Whitgiftian Rugby Club.
Later on, he became the managing director of the family business, One Complete Solution (OCS) which manages cleaning and maintenance work.
Nigel has remembered his father for his personal touch and "pure genius" with people.
"He would always help people out, whether it was giving them a lift up the road or helping out someone in trouble," he said.
"He was interested in things at home like gardening and cooking.
"He had this wonderful ability with people and seemed to know everyone in the Croydon community. It's a very rare gift and he could really tap straight into people's souls."
Mr Bowthorpe and his wife Diana, both regulars at Sanderstead United Reformed Church, met in 1967 and got married a year later. They lived in Croham Manor Road for their entire 45 years together.
Mrs Bowthorpe said: "He was so involved in the rugby club and OCS and they are desperately sad to see him go.
"We have lived here our entire lives but it is because he did so much work for other people that everyone knew him."
Mr Bowthorpe died on March 30.
More than 500 people came to pay their respects to him at a thanksgiving service held on April 25.
The funeral was organised by Rowland Brothers.