Prominent restaurateur Derek Patterson was a "fun-loving big eejit" who "enjoyed life to the full", his funeral has heard.
The body of Mr Patterson (53), who headed up The Plough Inn, was found near his home at St John's Road in the village last Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church on Monday to pay their respects to the well-known publican and chef.
Reverend Allen Sleith told Mr Patterson's friends and family of his love of animals and passion for sports.
"To this day, Derek’s love of all creatures great and small is there for all to see in the Patterson household – dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and a pony," he said.
"And when it came to the family going on holiday, Dessi would get the call and became a temporary zookeeper, but never quite knowing just how exotic the animals under his care might be.
"And who could forget Derek’s first big catch as a fisherman? A 20 pound pike that remained in the family bath so that no one could wash there for days."
Mr Patterson, a father-of-four, was best known as the chef and part-owner of the Plough Group of restaurants, which also includes the Vintage Rooms in Hillsborough, the Pheasant in Annahilt and the Tannery in Moira.
He was a leading figure in the hospitality industry and established Hillsborough's Oyster Festival in 1992.
Rev Sleith told mourners: "If Derek’s family called him a fun loving big eejit, then the rest of us are given permission to say that as well because, well, he was.
"'Work hard – play hard' – that was Derek’s motto – and while he played hard and enjoyed life to the full, there was no mistaking his passionate commitment to the hospitality industry that he served so well.
"Combine that passion, with a strong work ethic, an eye to detail, an imaginative flair, hard won experience from working overseas, and a larger-than-life personality, and you have a winning formula for a sector that expects high standards, one in which you can’t afford to coast, and can never rest on your laurels.
"It was Derek’s ability and vitality that made The Plough the household name that it is – its fame and good name have been hard earned and richly deserved, and Derek was at the very heart of that success."
Mr Patterson is survived by his wife Pamela and children Max, Natasha, Toby and Amelia.