THEY were known for their big hearts and community service, particularly for women in Labasa.
Ram Deo and Padma Wati Deo — a couple from Labasa who left for Australia last Friday to celebrate Christmas with their five children and grandchildren — will always be remembered for the social work they left behind.
Mrs Deo, 70, a retired primary school teacher, and Mr Deo, 71, a retired Fiji Sugar Corporation worker, died in a car crash in Australia on Boxing Day while travelling to Melbourne with their son and four other family members.
Labasa Town special administrator Vijay Chand said the couple had done a lot of community work for the people of Labasa.
"We will have a condolence book for the couple and anyone whose life has been touched or helped by the couple can always sign the book," he said.
"They were a caring couple and will be missed by the people of Labasa.
"They have done a lot for the women and for the community too."
Mrs Deo was a Commissioner of Oaths whose work was supported by her husband, said Mr Chand. "Three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they would sit at the Civic Centre from 8.30am to midday to sign documents brought in by those who needed signatures of a Commissioner of Oaths."
"She was known for organising the annual event of the National Women's Day celebration in Labasa where more than 500 women of all ethnic backgrounds would gather at the Civic Centre for dances and cultural activities."
While Mrs Deo signed and stamped papers of those who visited her for assistance, the soft-spoken Mr Deo who usually stopped by The Fiji Times office to ask for the latest updates, would sit by her side arranging the papers for her.
"If it was the stamp or pen needed, he would pass it to Mrs Deo - acting like her assistant."
Four of the couple's children live overseas while their eldest daughter teaches in a primary school in Labasa.
She also joined her parents on the trip to Australia last Friday and to Melbourne. She suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Mrs Deo's sister, Prem Singh, said the couple's son, Radeshwar Prakash Deo, was driving the vehicle. "They left Canberra at about 4.30am on Boxing Day and headed towards Melbourne for lunch with a family friend but the accident happened."
The bodies of the couple will be cremated in Canberra.
"The whole family lives there in Australia so it is easy," she said.