"You haven't lived until you've given the gift of giving."
These are were words that the late John James Johnston OAM would often use.
He, himself lived by the philosophy spending about 55 years dedicated to the work of the Lions movement both in Australia and internationally.
John passed away on April 22, however, his work and dedication to the community has been recognised in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours' List.
John's devoted wife Marie, cried with pride for a man she described as someone who spent his life helping others.
Marie said her husband of 61 years was a lovable character who would encourage everyone to achieve their best.
- Bowral Uniting Church and Oz Harvest pantry provides help to Southern Highlands families in tough times
- Friends of the Wingecarribee Animal Shelter launch search for the next calendar pooch
- COVID-19, riots and Mother Nature have tested a Highlands couple living in the USA
- Moss Vale Evening CWA members enjoy a socially distanced get-together
- Southern Highlands nurses ask 'where will it end?'
- Mass resumes at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Bowral
He was recognised in the Queen's Honour list for service to the community through a range of roles related to the Lions movement.
John would have turned 85 on June 9, the day after he was to have received his Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The accolade was in recognition of a long list of roles taken on by John, beginning with the Lions Club of Ingleburn and most recently with the Lions Club of Bowral.
But his reach and commitment within the Lions movement has been experienced locally, nationally and internationally.
He was a member of the Lions Club of Ingleburn from 1966 to 1987 and was a president of the club in 1974.
John also held a range of other roles including 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Director, Publicity Officer, Public Relations Officer, Bulletin Editor, Leo Club Adviser, and Youth of the Year Chairman.
He moved to the Southern Highlands more than 30 years ago joining the Lions Club of Bowral in 1987.
Once more, John stepped up to the plate for a host of roles including Public Officer 2018-2020, Director 2008-2010 and 2000-2003,1st Vice President 2005-2006 and 1989, 2nd Vice President 2017, and 3rd Vice President 2004 and 1988.
He also held a range of executive roles including Secretary, Bulletin Editor, Lions Mints Chairman, and Youth of the Year Chairman.
On a national level with Lions Australia John was State Chairman Christmas Cakes, 1998-2006, a member of the Mints and Cakes Committee.
Meanwhile in Lions District 201N2 he took on the role of Chairman District Youth of the Year 1990-1991, and Chairman Lions Mints and Cakes 1992-1993.
Johns commitment to Lions did not go unnoticed with him receiving several coveted awards including the Melvin Jones Extension Pin Lions International in 2010, and Melvin Jones Award Lions International in 1992.
Marie described John as having the patience of a saint, who would never speak ill of anyone.
She said that he would have been chuffed to learn that he had received a Queen's Birthday Honour.
"He would have been thrilled to bits, but he would have also said that he didn't deserve it," she said.
"He considered helping others as something natural to do.
"We had a wonderful life together and we had many wonderful experiences through Lions. We traveled many times, including overseas for International Lions conventions."
Marie said that some of John's favourite activities with Lions included raising money for the blind and seeing eye dogs, and overseeing the sale of Lion's Christmas cakes each year.
She said he was also a Justice of the Peace.
Meanwhile, a love of horses from the age of three led to a very special visitor for John during his final days convalescing in a Southern Highlands nursing home.
Marie said the staff allowed for a horse in the area to be brought to his room.
"It certainly put a smile on his face," she said.