He was an amazing man who rose from humble origins, growing up through the Depression to become a PHD, Professor and Knight, Principal of Lincoln College, a fine rugby player and most importantly a fantastic husband, father and grandparent. He achieved his goals with dignity, determination and a minimum of fuss. He leaves a big gap in our lives. A gap to hopefully be filled by memories, dreams and closer relationships within our remaining family.
At the funeral held in a packed Knox Church the family pulled through well with great speeches, poems and even Karanga (little sis) from the following generations. Nana asked me to read Psalm 121. This is a verse which I had never connected with previously but is now so special to me. The image I conjured in reading it was my Grandad as a young man, working the hill country of Putere behind Wairoa. A land burned and probably still metaphorically smouldering. A harsh land with little shade recently exposed to the sun. What shaped the young man during this time, what were his challenges and his hopes for the future?
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
The best online obituary I have found is here. An obituary written by Mike Crean was also published in the Press and Dominion Post on the weekend.
Rest peacefully Grandad, your journey was a marvellous one and we will look after Nana (when she is not looking after us).