Wayne and Theresa Baker, who were among the 298 people killed when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July, have been remembered at a funeral in Darwin.

Theresa Baker had a zest for life and her husband Wayne wore his heart on his sleeve.

Killed in July, when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, the couple have finally been farewelled at a funeral in Darwin.

Mrs Baker was due to celebrate her 53rd birthday next weekend while travelling around Australia with her husband, 55, visiting friends and family.

“It’s heartbreaking to realise these events will never happen,” Mr Baker’s sister Kim told about 200 mourners who gathered from around the country at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin on Friday morning.

The couple were in Europe on their “holiday of a lifetime” when their plane, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17.

Their bodies were returned to Australia last weekend.

The couple, originally from Queensland, lived in Darwin for 32 years, but had just bought their dream home at Coral Cove on the central Queensland coast, where they were planning to retire.

Mr Baker had just ended a long career at the NT Treasury and Mrs Baker was planning to do the same after many years at the Department of Children and Families.

“From their first day to their last, Wayne was always the guy for Theresa,” her cousin Matthew Foot said.

The adventurous couple loved cruising, camping and fishing, he recalled, and Theresa “so loved exploring new countries that no sooner would she get back from one trip than she’d be planning the next”.

Mrs Baker’s friend of 30 years, Debbie Whittaker, remembered her “soul mate” as a woman who always encouraged her to test her boundaries.

“One year she called me to say she had booked us both in to do rock climbing in the morning, scuba diving in the afternoon and pistol shooting the next day. We did it, and had an absolute ball,” she said.

“We must all try to salvage something positive from this terrible tragedy,” her husband Mac told the congregation, by treasuring time with friends and families.

“We can never know when our time here is up.”

Mr Baker’s sister thanked the couple’s friends for their support over the past three months.

“We, the families, wish to thank all of you for the comfort and strength you’ve given us at this time of great loss, for the flowers that filled the house, for the heartfelt words of consolation and the love which has fallen like balm on a wound… we will never forget your kindness to us all.”

The Bakers are survived by their sons Jeff and Steven.