John Gay is being remembered as an outstanding Tasmanian.
The former Gunns chief executive died on Thursday, aged 75, after a long battle with cancer.
Once a farmer from Westbury, Mr Gay went on to run one of Australia's largest corporations, until its controversial end in 2013.
Former Tasmanian Premier and Gunns director Robin Gray said he had never met a man who cared more for his community.
"John was an outstanding Tasmanian," he said.
"He probably, of all the Northern Tasmanians in recent years, made the greatest contribution.
"He had been battling cancer for the past 12 years, but he was a fighter and he fought off the disease.
"He was determined to go on, to keep working and to keep contributing."
Mr Gay joined Gunns in 1975, managing its Waverley and Summerhill mills.
In 1986 he took on the top job as chief executive, where he remained until his resignation in 2010. It came after years of controversy surrounding plans announced in 2004 for a Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Not long after his resignation, Mr Gay was charged with insider trading. He was convicted in 2013 - the same year Gunns was placed into liquidation.
Friend Tom O'Meara said for all of Mr Gay's success and tough times, he always prioritised his family.
"He was a great supporter of Tasmania and an even greater supporter of Launceston and the North," Mr O'Meara said.
"In business, his number one priority was to create jobs and certainly to boost the Northern economy.
"He was a very generous man. He looked after his hundreds of employees extremely well and he assisted so many families during difficult times, which people didn't know about.
"A hell of a lot of us are going to miss him very much, but I am sure his family will have some wonderful memories to live with."