RAYMOND Burke was just months away from retirement when he and another car collided on Pialba-Burrum Heads Rd, tragically cutting the 63-year-old's life short.
Dundowran Beach neighbours spoke about the Gladstone Port Authority worker with fond memories of the "mischievous" man who loved his family and took great pride in his home and lawn.
Neighbour Bill Ewen said he still remembered when Mr Burke arrived in the area about four or five years ago.
"He just had that mischievous twinkle," he said.
Mr Ewen said when Mr Burke, 63, was first in the area he used to jog down the street shirtless, like he had found a place to call home.
It is understood Mr Burke's three daughters were travelling to Dundowran Beach to be with their mother Jenny, Mr Burke's wife of about 40 years.
Mr Burke died at the scene of the horrific crash on Pialba-Burrum Heads Rd on Tuesday night.
His car was hit about 6pm when he was attempting to exit the Craignish Country Club.
Staff at the Craignish Country Club were among the first on the scene.
Bar attendant Michael Hockey, who sold Mr Burke a take-home bottle of Penfold's Shiraz minutes before the crash, described him as a "gentleman".
"He was always pleasant when he came in and got a bottle of take-away wine (and) would ask you how your day was going," he said.
"He was down to earth ... you always knew it was him with his singlet, tattoos and fedora hat."
Mr Hockey made the initial call to Triple 0 after Mr Burke's car was hit.
He said was in the cool room getting beer when he heard a "loud crash" and ran outside.
"I saw (a four-wheel drive), there were flames near the chassis,"
He yelled for someone to grab a fire extinguisher, dialled 000 and ran to Mr Burke's vehicle to see if he could help.
Tragically, Mr Burke died at the scene despite resuscitation attempts by emergency services.
Mr Hockey, the last person to speak to Mr Burke before the crash, was left shocked and shaken by the accident.
"He was a nice guy," he said.
A spokeswoman from Gladstone Ports Corporation confirmed Mr Burke worked at the site.
"This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with Raymond's family," she said.
"At this very difficult time, GPC will focus on supporting the family, friends and workmates of our employee."
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