Every so often in life you meet someone whose character you would be keen to emulate. Billy McKee was such a man.
Integrity and honesty ran through his DNA and when young men in Tigers Bay bought into it they were set on the right track for life. Billy's death at the age of 83 after a short illness has left a chasm within the boxing community and the society he served with his wisdom and genuine affection.
He will be eternally linked with the career of two-weight world champion Carl Frampton, guiding him to Ulster, Irish and international success as well as offering wise counsel during his professional days, but Billy's life in boxing runs much, much deeper.
Growing up in Belfast, Billy's sporting hero was former world flyweight Rinty Monaghan who lived only a few doors away. While he dabbled in boxing, Billy was more prolific on the football pitch, representing Distillery in the Irish League before going on to work in the Merchant Navy.
As well as running the Midland club in Tigers Bay, Billy was at the heart of boxing in Northern Ireland as President of the Antrim Council and as a representative on the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's Central Council. When it came to fighting the corner of boxers from this part of the island, Billy was a leading voice - and the message was never anything but crystal clear.
Indeed, Paddy Barnes Snr points directly to Billy's influence in lighting the spark that allowed his son to go on and become a three-time Olympian as well as Commonwealth and European gold medallist.
It was the World Championships of 2007 and the Irish coaches had decided not to take a full team, which meant Paddy was not going to be one of those in Chicago - the first official qualifying event for the 2008 Olympics.
"Patrick wasn't going to the World Championships until Billy and Gerry Storey stood up and fought for a full team to be sent," said Paddy, who succeeded Billy in the office.
"When Billy was President of Antrim boxing he fought for everyone, it didn't matter where you came from and I have often said that what he did allowed Patrick to go to Chicago and qualify for the Olympics and from there his career just took off.
"I will always remember Billy as a very good friend to me, Patrick and my family. That friendship spanned boxing and everything else. He was one of the few people I greatly trusted and looked up to in boxing. Not only did he help me but he and the Antrim board were at the forefront of the Belfast Strategy that gets £200,000 to develop the sport and because of that we've been able to take kids on trips to the likes of Barcelona, Paris and Austria. We even had the Spanish national team in Andersonstown Leisure Centre. Billy was critical to that happening."
One of Billy's proudest moments was when he was offered the chance to be the IABA Team Manager for the World Championships in 2001 at the Odyssey Arena. So, understandably, he wasn't best pleased when one of his boxers, in an article in the Belfast Telegraph, criticised the accommodation.
Thankfully, when my head had finally stopped throbbing and the Championships had ended, we were back on good terms.
Cooper McClure, his lieutenant for many years, would be the man given the task of filling Billy's shoes at Midland when he decided to take a step back in 2018. "I'm happy because I know the club is in good hands," he told me during one of many chats in his club office over coffee and a biscuit.
A tearful Cooper spoke for everyone when he commented: "Billy give it to you straight whether you liked it or not. That's what I admired about the man, his honesty. He was such a wise man as well, so much so I find myself regularly quoting him, and my wife just says 'well if Billy says it, it must be right'.
"We had our ding dongs and he loved an argument but we never ever lost respect for one another. I'm really going to miss him. He was a huge influence on my life."
Billy, honoured with a British Empire Medal in 2014, was there for all of Frampton's big moments and his eyes would moisten when considering his protégé's achievements. But for Billy, it was about much, much more than that.
As he once told me: "He's not world champion Carl Frampton in this gym, he's just Carl Frampton. I maybe get more of a kick out of the way Carl conducts himself than him even winning the world title.
"Coaches can have a big influence and I am thankful that I've never had a boy who has boxed for me who has got into trouble - and that's a fact."
Billy's legacy will live on in Tigers Bay and beyond, as the wave of tributes bear testimony. He is survived by wife Eileen, sons Sammy and William and daughters Kim, Brenda and Violet.