The DUP agriculture minister said 90-year-old Charlie Poots – who was a founding member of the DUP and first stood as a Protestant Unionist candidate in 1969 – had always “worked day and night to provide for his family”.
Mr Poots Snr was a councillor in Lisburn for 24 years before stepping down from elected politics in 1997.
His death comes just one day after DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson announced the death of his own father, Jim Donaldson.
In a Facebook message, Mr Poots said his father “went home to be with his Saviour this morning”.
In tribute, he said: “He was born in the year of the Wall Street Crash, raised during a depression and world war, and had to work extremely hard for everything he ever had.
“He accepted Christ when he was 14, met the love of his life Ethel when he was 18, and married five years later. Mum was plagued with ill health from shortly after they married, having almost lost her at least three times, she predeceased him in 1996.
“He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 1993, in spite of being told he wouldn’t walk again, he did and insisted on driving again which only stopped in June last year.”
Charlie Poots, who became a close friend of the late Rev Ian Paisley as well as a party colleague, survived a republican murder bid in 1976 – escaping injury despite his car being hit by gunfire from INLA terrorists.
Mr Poots’s tribute went on to say: “His love in life was farming, rearing calves, breeding sheep, turkeys hens and pigs, he worked night and day to provide for his family.
“Our family will miss him greatly he was a real character, could be mischievous liked a bit of fun and practical jokes, fiercely loyal and had incredible resilience.
“My abiding memory is him on his knees at his bedside every night praying for his family, neighbours, his church, country and missionaries.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster also paid tribute to the party veteran, saying: “Charlie’s service to the people of Lisburn was marked in 2009 when he was made a freeman of the City of Lisburn and his loss will be felt by many people, but particularly in that city and amongst the people to whom he gave such dedicated representation.”
Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, councillor Alan Givan, said it was a “privilege to have known Charlie Poots for many years”.
Mr Givan added: “I always found him to be a true gentleman. His love of the land and his commitment to serving the rural and wider communities continued throughout his 30-year distinguished career as an elected member and an MLA, always the ambassador for Lisburn.”