Ken Tomlinson, 87, died from Covid in September after catching the virus before rapidly deteriorating.
In typical stoic fashion, the former sailor told his daughter Sharon Stone he would ‘be alright’ before succumbing to the illness at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Despite his age, Ken had the physical attributes of someone much younger and was renowned for being active.
‘He was a fit 87-year-old. He couldn’t sit down and was always doing something,’ Sharon said.
He would attend church daily and meet up weekly with other fellow veterans at the Fleet Air Arm Association.
Ken would love to garden and tinker with his new Toyota Yaris sports car he bought after his wife Maureen died six years ago.
‘His whole world was destroyed after she died but in the end he just got on with it and bought the new car. He would drive to Liverpool, where he was from, to watch them play football. He was a massive fan,’ Sharon said.
‘He was full of life and was always walking and going to St Mary’s Church. He was a big Christian and would help anyone.
‘He was known for his gardening even though he was not a gardener and would help people who needed their lawn doing. All he wanted was a cup of tea and a biscuit or piece of cake. He did it for the love.
‘I miss him so much, he was an amazing man.’
Ken received a fitting send-off at a ‘packed’ St Mary’s church.
The veteran moved to Portchester in the 1950s to join the navy before meeting Maureen who lived in the area and marrying her. The pair were married for nearly 60 years when she died.
‘He was very popular and well known in Portchester and stayed in the area after moving down from Liverpool,’ Sharon said.
Ken served the Royal Navy for around 20 years where he used to wave planes onto aircraft carriers including HMS Eagle and HMS Hermes.
After his stint in the navy, he joined the Territorial Army in Hilsea.
He was also a lorry delivery driver before he retired in his 50s.
Sharon said her dad had a unique sense of humour. ‘He was a bit of a character who had his own humour,’ she said.
‘He liked a joke and was very dry. He never lost the sense of humour he had from up north.’
He was also very kind.
‘Mum was paralysed in one arm when she was 16 and was left blind in one eye. My dad was amazing and did everything for her,’ Sharon said.
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Ken is survived by Sharon, one brother, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.