Tom Howarth was a familiar figure at the Leyland Tiger in Leyland for a total of 21 years.
Today his son Anthony revealed how he spoke to his 67-year-old dad on the phone from his hospital bed one last time before he passed away on May 7.
Now his family have launched an appeal to thank the "amazing " staff at Royal Preston Hospital.
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Mr Howarth had been taken to hospital from his Leyland home after feeling unwell. Coronavirus was confirmed.
After 32 days he died of COVID-19 on a ventilator in the Critical Care Unit with Anthony and daughter-in-law Vicki on the phone with him.
Anthony said the situation was heartbreaking but he was able to say goodbye.
He said he could not praise staff highly enough for all they did to care for his dad and make him comfortable.
In 1961, aged eight, Mr Howarth moved into the Leyland Tiger with dad Ronnie, mum Gerry and sister Janine.
He worked throughout the pub for 21 years, beginning by selling pop and crisps from a shed on the car park with his sister Janine.
As a cocktail barman, he invented his signature drink and registered his "Tiger’s Tail" cocktail
Mr Howarth ran the extended pub’s cabaret nights, booking artists and operating the stage equipment and music.
He also qualified as a chef and ran the kitchens.
In 1978 he married the love of his life Madeline. He moved out of the Tiger in January 1982, becoming a father to Anthony in August that same year.
After the Tiger he first worked as a wine shop manager in Gatley, Manchester for Augustus Barnett before being appointed District Manager for pub chain Bass in Liverpool for the next three decades.
Over the years for Bass (later becoming Mitchells and Butlers) he looked after the Railway and the Seven Stars in Leyland, and the Bay Horse in Euxton.
In Preston, he looked after O’Neill’s, the Adelphi, the Coach House, and also the Sherwood, the Anderton Arms and the Black Bull in Fulwood. As well as his pubs across the North West in Liverpool, Southport, Blackpool, Blackburn, the Lakes, and Manchester.
After a short retirement he joined Preston-based firm Amber Taverns and was instrumental in the company buying and reopening the Queens in Leyland.
For Amber he also operated the Punch and Truncheon in Bamber Bridge, and Pearsons in Chorley.
In 2011, wanting to give something back, he became a magistrate sitting in Leyland, Chorley and Preston magistrates’ courts among others and more recently extended his service helping families and children in the family court which he found most rewarding of all.
Anthony said: “Dad was a lot of things to a lot of people. To the family first and foremost he was an amazing husband to my mum Madeline, father to me, and grandfather to my children Nathan and Evie.
"It amazes me wherever he went in his hometown of Leyland the amount of times people would stop him for a conversation. The topic would often revert back to his formative years running the Leyland Tiger with my grandfather Ronnie.
“So many people have given their love and kind wishes at this terribly sad time."
Anthony added: "As a family we have received hundreds upon hundreds of well wishes on social media, via letter and through phone calls from as far away as Australia, India and America.
"Dad was well loved. I can honestly say that I have smiled as much as I have cried this past week.
"Dad leaves us with truly happy memories.
“The Critical Care team at Royal Preston Hospital gave their all to save Dad and make him comfortable. We will never ever forget their kindness and efforts to save Dad’s life.”
A private funeral will take place on Friday May 22.
The family are raising money for the Critical Care Unit at Royal Preston Hospital.
Donations can be made payable to 'Critical Care Unit, Royal Preston Hospital' c/o the funeral director N & K Harvey Funerals ltd, 5-7 Balcarres Road, Leyland, PR25 2EL 01772 622 203