Pillar Valley crash victim was a dedicated family man
'FAMILY first' was the motto that Pillar Valley crash victim Stephen Watts lived and breathed, and what his children say he will be remembered for.
The 65-year-old Copmanhurst resident died on Sunday morning when his vehicle left Wooli Rd and hit a tree.
Daughter Natasha said he had been driving to Wooli to join the rest of the family for their annual holiday at the time.
"We were just starting a family holiday out there and forgot to get a few things," she said.
"He was passionate about coming to Wooli, it was what he lived for every year."
Instead, his family and friends are left struggling to cope with his loss.
"It is very hard for us, we're a very close family," Natasha said.
"We lost our mum when we were all very young - I was only 15, my brother was 14 and my sister was 11. So he raised us as a single dad, and he was the hardest working dad to raise three teenagers.
"Once the grandchildren came along they were his entire world. He was just very loved."
The eldest of five children, Mr Watts was born and raised in Grafton and spent most of his working life at Big River Timbers.
He then helped care for his father, who was ill, before settling in Copmanhurst.
"Dad really only had the last 18 months to himself," Natasha said.
"He had just started retirement so he should be enjoying life, and that has been taken from him too."
Natasha said her father taught her that above all family comes first, something he lived every day.
"It doesn't matter what you have in life - you don't need money, you don't need anything -- just need family and happiness," she said.
"All of us kids live by that rule, and we don't have much but we have each other, and that's because of him.
"I couldn't be prouder to have him as my dad."
Mr Watts is survived by two brothers, two sisters, three children and three grandchildren.
"He will be very missed by us all."