A life full of laughter and music: Dave 'Crusty' Rankin
I FIRST met Dave "Crusty" Rankin about 12 years ago, commanding the stage of Lismore's Tattersalls Hotel on trombone with infamous post-punk Lismore band Blurter - wearing only a Ronald Regan mask and a G-string.
It was the perfect introduction to the renowned jazz trombonist, epitomising his eclectic musical and cultural sensitivities.
He never passed up the opportunity to cross genres with like-minded musicians, and Blurter - a motley bunch of mostly middle-age tradies who got sick of not being musicians - was right up his alley.
Though Blurter imploded a few years later (at LA's Viper Room, but that's another story), the friendship between the guitarist, Lismore mechanic Matt Mason, remained and grew.
"Crusty was a living legend," Mr Mason said.
"He was definitely the funniest bloke I've ever met though I had no illusions about him; he was a beast of a man!
"I loved drinking with him, playing music and listening to his limericks."
David Laurence Rankin was born in Melbourne, May 30, 1936, to Bruce Couch and Gertrude "Francy" Donellan who died giving birth. He was adopted and raised by his uncle, jazz pianist Frank Rankin, and wife Anne.
He lived for jazz (and dirty jokes) making a name for himself as a teenager on the Melbourne jazz scene before going on to play with sousaphonist, Gypsy Bennett, and trumpeter, Sny Chambers, throughout the 1950s and '60s.
Crusty's daughter, Merella Curtis, said his other pride and joy was the rainforest he planted at his Lismore home.
"We're doing a memorial garden there for Dad and his great grandson this Sunday," she said.
Rankin is survived by his four children: Merella, Rachel, Tom and Zali, and 14 grandchildren.
Friends and family will gather at his home on the corner of Parkes and Keen streets, Girards Hill, from 12pm this Sunday ahead of a New Orleans-style funeral procession to his favourite watering hole, the Lismore Bowling Club.