A FORMER Crystal Palace winger who chose the club so he could further his building career has passed away.
Geoff Truett, who lived in Purley, died on January 5 aged 79, following a short illness.
A winger on the pitch and a builder by trade, Mr Truett joined the Glaziers in 1957 from Wycombe Wanderers because the club was owned at the time by Arthur Wait.
Mr Wait was a local builder who could offer footballers jobs outside of the game, something Mr Truett's daughter Jane Owens said was always at the forefront of his mind.
"He always stressed the importance of having something outside of football," Mrs Owens said.
"He didn't want to fall back on it so he worked outside of it all his life."
He stayed at Selhurst Park for five years and made friends with Palace legend Johnny Byrne, who took Mr Truett to his home for some food on the night Jane was born. He had been plucked from the lower leagues by Palace after a sensational spell with Wycombe Wanderers in which he scored 63 goals in 114 games.
When he left in 1972, he joined Tonbridge and also played for Hastings before retiring from the game aged 38 in 1973.
Although he ended up a sports fan, Mr Truett was a "huge" sports fan who competed in the All England Championships at shotput and javelin in his youth.
Born in Forest Gate, in east London, his football career started to take off when he and his family were bombed out of their home and moved to Amersham, in Buckinghamshire.
He married his wife Jose, 78, in 1957 and had two children, Jane, 56, and Daniel, 55.
Mrs Owens said: "He was a fantastic father, he just believed in living life to the full. He was a fairly quiet man but could be the life and soul of the party.
"But he could be quite strict and he was a strong character."
After retiring from the game, Mr Truett worked as a buyer for a number of building firms including Higgs and Hill.
Mr Truett, who enjoyed a flutter on the dogs and the horses, lived with his family in Croham Valley Road, in South Croydon, and in Gravel Hill, Addington Village before moving to Purley.
He spent the last few months of his life with his daughter in Copthorne, West Sussex, after his wife had to move into a home.
Mr Truett is also survived by five grandchildren Alice, 26, Elizabeth, 24, Faye, 21, Will, 21, and Nick, 19. Will and Nick are huge Palace fans – a legacy of their grandfather as they were apparently "edging towards" choosing Manchester United as their team.
Mr Truett's funeral, to which all are welcome, takes place on January 21 from 2.15pm in the East Chapel at Croydon Crematorium.