AS the State Funeral for former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin begins at St Patrick's Church in Mackay, his beloved family has released a moving statement about his passing.
"We are deeply humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of love during this incredibly sad time for our family," the statement read.
"Over the past week we have been inundated with messages and gestures of love and kindness and we are extremely grateful for the support and generosity during this difficult period.
"Family, friends and relationships were everything to Tim.
"It has been amazing to share in the countless stories and anecdotes of the interactions and memories so many have of Tim.
"Tim's heart was ever-expanding. He lived by his priorities of family, faith and friends and collected lifelong friends wherever he went.
"Tim's love for family, the Mackay community and Queensland was immense and it was through this love and commitment to serve that he achieved so much and brought him great joy.
"Thank you to those near and far who celebrated Tim's life and legacy today.
"The world will be a little less bright in his passing and we thank the Queensland Government for honouring Tim's incredible life through the State Funeral Service today.
"Our sincere thanks to the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre and Tim's treasured Harrup Park Country Club for their support."
Timothy Sean Mulherin was born on August 24, 1957 and died on September 7, 2020, after a short battle with lung cancer.
He was the beloved husband to Erin, father to sons Rory, Liam, and Declan and his partner Kirsty, and the eldest of six children to proud parents Leo and Helen.
He was a man who championed people, both in his distinguished public service and in his personal life.
The Order of Service booklet for the funeral offers a succinct summary of his time in office.
His advocacy for regional Queensland was a constant throughout his 20 years of public service as the Member for Mackay from 1995 to 2015.
In Mr Mulherin's inaugural speech to parliament in 1995, he said, referring to his predecessor, the Honourable Edmund Denis Casey: "The priorities in my life are ones that I share with Edmund Casey. These are: family, faith and friends."
Former Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2012 until his retirement in 2015, Mr Mulherin was one of just seven members of Queensland Labor returned to parliament following the 2012 election.
He was instrumental in rebuilding the party.
Mr Mulherin held three ministerial portfolios over seven years and his achievements and work in the primary industries and agriculture sector include significant biosecurity reforms, introducing into Queensland parliament The Biosecurity Bill 2011, and support for communities recovering and rebuilding following natural disasters.
He was respected across the political divide and will be remembered as one of Queensland's great parliamentarians.
Mr Mulherin continued his service to the community after parliament as Chair of the Mackay Hospital and Health Board, and Deputy Chairman of both the Mackay Cricket Association and Harrup Park Country Club.
The ceremony will include a blessing of the coffin, a gathering song and a placing of the pall before Mr Mulherin's son Declan, Liam and Rory speak of their father.
Father Don White will offer an opening prayer before a number of readings and hymns.
The service will conclude with an Irish blessing reflecting the Mulherin family heritage:
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall softly upon your fields
Until we meet again my friend, until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
The Mulherin family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations to the Queensland Cancer Council at www.cancerqld.org.au would be appreciated.
Please reference 'in honour of Tim Mulherin' when making a donation.