Birmingham lawyer Charles Flint has died aged 65 after a lengthy battle against leukaemia - and tributes have poured in to a man who played a major role in the life of the city's business community.
He was described as "a true gentleman who managed to adapt to a modern world whilst still maintaining old world charm, integrity and friendship".
Fellow lawyer and judge John Aucott said: "All who knew him remember him as a consummate professional who looked after his clients and fought for their interests above all else. Many who started out with him remained loyal until he retired and remain clients of his old firm today.
"A man with the widest interests and enthusiasms, he loved good food, fine wine and entertaining company. He enjoyed his home county of Warwickshire in all its facets and indulged his love of the countryside and country sports. He had a deep appreciation of music, the theatre, cinema, golf, watching cricket, reading and travel, to name but a few of his interests."
Mr Flint was educated at Uppingham School and Birmingham University and then articled to the late Charles Lea of Harold Roberts & Lea. He stayed with the firm on qualification and became a partner shortly afterwards.
Mr Flint oversaw the rapid expansion of the practice by leading mergers with Ansell & Sherwin, NQ Grazebrook, Duggan Elton & James, Shakespeare & Vernon and Bettinsons to create by 1990 the firm of Shakespeares, of which he then served as senior partner from 1995-2001.
He served for many years on the council of Birmingham Law Society and held the post of treasurer for a period.
He was chairman of the National Young Solicitors Group of the Law Society in 1973/4 and was instrumental in the then radical move to advertise to the public the benefits of using solicitors over accountants.
It was a controversial decision, and not without its critics, but the profession got behind it and it is now commonplace.
Birmingham businessman and former lawyer John James said: "Charles Flint was a deceptive man. Behind his old-fashioned lawyer image lay a shrewd commercial brain: he was one of the most able commercial business advisers in the city in the 80s and 90s.
"Perhaps more importantly he was great company and had a mischevious sense of humour which underpinned his approach to life and to serving clients.
"He was generous both to his friends and to those who sat on the other side of the negotiating table which is one reason why he could make deals happen when more confrontational lawyers would have failed.
"Many professional people in the modern age are one-dimensional. Charles was bright, articulate, multi-lingual, a great supporter of the arts, and a well-travelled and knowledgeable gourmet.
"The world is a poorer and less fun place for his passing."
Mr Flint was also a fine linguist and was the founder and chairman of the International Advisory Group, a global network of professional advisors.
Outside of the legal profession he was Pro Chancellor and Deputy of the Board of Governors of the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University) and held numerous non-executive directorships of Midlands companies.
He was on the board of Samuel Heath and Sons, one of Birmingham's oldest firms. He was also a trustee of innumerable private charitable trusts and was well known for looking after "his stable of Warwickshire widows"!
He was the founder and chairman of Hathaway Investments and a committee member of Midlands Excellence, an organisation which works with companies to help them improve performance.
He was a member of the Lunar Society and the Birmingham Graduates Club, and was on the CBI's West Midlands Council from 1993.
John Duckers, business editor of The Birmingham Post, who went to the same school, said: "Charles was a lovely man to be around.
"He was a traditionalist who believed standards were important and accuracy mattered. But he could be extremely kind and intensely loyal to his friends.
"He was very proud of his Uppingham connections and was behind a fair few old boy get-togethers in Birmingham.
"Only back in December I was having a banter with him while wearing my John Bright column hat. I had teased him about some hugely tedious speech years ago he had supposedly given about contaminated land – and he denied it.
"And, in great good humour, he insisted: 'I could not go to my grave with friends and colleagues associating me with the register of contaminated land. The 1982 vintage in Bordeaux, politics of a law firm, shooting in Warwickshire, maybe'!
"And I rather suspect that is exactly how he would like to be remembered."
He is survived by his wife Marie and children James and Marianne. The funeral is private.