RUSSELL Island wildlife carer Sharon Lee Keegan, who passed away at home last month, has been remembered as a diamond in the rough by her son Deyne Keegan.
Paying tribute to her at a memorial service last week, Mr Keegan said that he and his sisters would continue their mother's legacy of caring for animals.
"Of her many facets, the brightest one was her passionate love for all creatures great and small," he said.
"Mum taught us to be compassionate, to not walk past that defenceless creature but to do all that we can to ensure it has its best chance at life. And that's how mum treated us."
Mr Keegan said that growing up with Sharon as their mother was a wild ride for himself and his sisters.
They would spend late nights helping their mum rescue an injured animal or crawling through a roof to retrieve a python.
"None of this I would change," Mr Keegan said.
"Growing up there was rarely a request she wouldn't humour. We had some amazing expeditions all around Australia, Mum's inquisitive nature was contagious and we all share it now as adults.
"I can even recall a memory of hours of driving in the back of the good old troopy, the 12v TV fading in and out between towns.
"Mum's solution (was) road trip scrabble. We would spend many nights playing scrabble with mum, always arguing over the validity of two letter words.
"I miss those moments dearly."
Mr Keegan said he had watched with admiration as his mother turned an overgrown block on Russell Island into a sanctuary over the past 10 years.
"On visits we would be greeted by a gaggle of geese, beyond the house the cry of a peacock would erupt, this would then trigger the cockatoos," he said.
"It sounds intense but it truly was beautiful. It brought me pleasure to see Mum happy in this habitat she had created. She loved it and it loved her back."
Mr Keegan said he would miss the whirlwind that was Sharon Keegan.
"Make sure you take the time to pat the dogs, pat the cats, admire the birds, smell the flowers, go for a walk in the bush, enjoy the beauty that this life has adorned on us all," he said.
Ms Keegan is survived by her father John Clark, sisters Tanya Waterson-Clark and Amanda Clark, brother Shane Clark, son Deyne Keegan and daughters Savannah Ellis and Siobhan Keegan.