Here we recognise the passing of Palmerston North Boys’ High School Old Boys.
Here we recognise the passing of Palmerston North Boys’ High School Old Boys.
Lawyer, coroner, city councillor. Born in Wellington, February 10, 1933, died in Palmerston North, May 13, 2017.
When Graham Hubbard’s role as Palmerston North’s part-time coroner disappeared with the introduction of the 2006 Coroners Act, he carried on, clearing a backlog of cases, even though he was over 70 years old.
“Old solicitors never die,” he told the Manawatu Standard at the time.
“They just fade away.”
Hubbard finally faded away after spending three years in the care of the Cook St nursing home, until his death on May 13.
The lawyer and three-term Palmerston North city councillor was remembered as a kind man by former judge and lawyer Mike Behrens, who spoke at his funeral at St Alban’s Presbyterian Church.
Behrens was a young lawyer in Palmerston North when he met Hubbard in court, and recalled how he had put the “friend” in the lawyers’ courtesy reference to each other as “my learned friend”.
He was a man Behrens said had hid his light under a bushel.
Hubbard was born in Wellington, but did his schooling in Palmerston North, successfully carrying off the title of dux at Boys’ High School, before studying law in Wellington in the 1950s.
He was the son of a presbyterian minister, John Hubbard, who for 30 years was minister at St Andrew’s in Palmerston North
Hubbard returned to Palmerston North to practise as a lawyer, principally in conveyancing, and most recently at Opie and Dron.
Daughter Gillian remembers her father worked extremely hard, was kind to people, had insight and wisdom, and a sometimes irreverent sense of humour.
The role of coroner opened up for him when predecessor and legal partner Harold Sivyer died suddenly.
As Sivyer’s deputy, it had been a natural progression for him to take over.
Over more than 20 years, he presided over an estimated 6000 inquests into sudden deaths, suicides, road fatalities, and the deaths of the victims of crime.
That included the 2006 death of three children when a cliff collapsed while they were swimming in the Pohangina River at Totara Reserve, the death of dementia patients who wandered and drowned in the Manawatu River, and the final word that Christine and Amber Lundy had died of injuries inflicted by Mark Lundy in 2000, after his conviction for their murders.
Hubbard also built up a history of community service, as a member and chairman of the former Manawatu-Oroua Electric Power Board and city councillor.
He was first elected to the city council in 1980, and was chairman of the energy committee from 1983 until losing his seat in 1989, when the introduction of wards prompted stiff competition for election in the Hokowhitu ward.
From 1982, he was a member of the Globe Theatre Trust Board.
He was also a Rotarian and past president of the Manawatu Law Society.
Hubbard is survived by his wife Jennifer, son Mark, and daughters Gillian, Wendy and Allison and their families
Michael Dean, who has died aged 82, was an outstanding BBC broadcaster in the 1960s and 70s. On Late Night Line-Up, a nightly discussion programme on BBC2, he shared presenting duties with Denis Tuohy, Tony Bilbow and myself, two of us for each transmission. With 364 programmes a year over eight years, the pressure was never off: we were forever writing scripts, interviewing and filming, as well as contributing to a steady stream of ideas.
Michael took ideas seriously, and admired talent without sycophancy. He made friends of both Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, who agreed to come back to appear on the programme again if Michael would interview them. His interviews with Tony Hancock, Morecambe and Wise, Gore Vidal and Peter Sellers were no showbiz soundbites but thoughtful conversations, in which Michael used his modesty and intelligence to steer guests to often revealing insights.
But he was no pushover: indeed he developed a bold technique that we came to call “the silent poisoner”. He would ask a straightforward question and, on receiving an evasive answer, he would deploy not the Paxman tactic, but the exact opposite. With sublime self-control he would simply remain silent and wait. It takes nerves of steel to do that on live television. But it was then that the interviewee, in a panic at the awkwardness of the pause, would blurt out anxiously whatever came into their heads. It was often the most revealing remark of all.
Michael’s quiet skills underpinned all that we were doing; he was widely read and knowledgable about a range of subjects from jazz to sport and poetry. He wrote elegant and witty scripts – and in consequence went on in the 70s to make documentaries about, among others, Noël Coward, George Formby, and Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson..
Michael was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand. His mother, Mavis Holt, came from the family behind the successful Carter Holt Harvey timber company. His father, Kendrick Dean, was a remarkable GP who travelled abroad to seek out treatments for the ailments of his local community. When he was eight, Michael went with this three sisters, Dorothy, Viv and Julie, to a Quaker prep school in Whanganui, where he began to absorb the values of tolerance and hatred of injustice about which he would later become eloquent. He went on to Palmerston North boys’ high school and became a journalist cadet on the local newspaper.
At the age of 20 he contracted TB and went to a sanatorium. It was there that he began to read intensively, discovering the joy of books and ideas that was to last him all his life. Poetry was a particular love. Shakespeare was his god, and TS Eliot a particular favourite – he called him “big Tom”.
After a year as a sports reporter for a Cape Town newspaper in South Africa, he returned to New Zealand and joined National Radio. He married his first wife, Shirley, and moved to Sydney, Australia. After three years, with his marriage at an end, he came to Britain, and by the mid-60s was a recognised face on Late Night Line-Up.
In 1968 he married the actor Christine Collins and they had two daughters, Rachael and Emily. When Line-Up was cancelled in 1972, he returned to New Zealand, where he had his own television chat show, Dean on Saturday. He then moved to Australia to work for Kerry Packer’s Channel Nine, where he anchored the coverage of the 1976 Montreal Olympics. By the 80s he was back in Britain and working for the BBC, reporting for such programmes as Man Alive and 40 Minutes.
His was a career of impressive range and integrity. But his personal life was more casual: he never bought a home, he had accidents with cars and his disorganisation often left those he loved in despair. Nonetheless he took his daughters to Shakespeare’s tomb and shed tears for his hero. He made and kept friends, and was a regular at Late Night Line-Up reunions.
Towards the end of his life he had dementia; in his final months he was seriously affected. He often lost his way when he went out on his own, but to a friend who offered sympathy, his reply was upbeat: “Oh, getting lost means I see lots of places I didn’t know about before.” And to sympathetic comments about his condition he replied: “You know, this Alzheimer’s is really something of an adventure.”
Christine, from whom he was separated, died in February this year. His younger daughter, Rachael, died of cancer in 2012. He is survived by Emily, by two grandchildren, Rachael’s daughters Mimi and Alberta, and by his sister Viv.
• Michael Dean, broadcaster, born 15 May 1933; died 5 October 2015
Bill attended PNBHS from 1936 to 1939. He was a dedicated attendee of the school ANZAC service, having served a a Gunner and a Leading Air Craftsman in both the NZ Artillery. 6 AFV Regiment and the RNZAF.
Bill passed away on Monday, August 8, 2016, at Ranfurly Manor surrounded by family, in his 93rd year. Dearly loved and loving husband for 69 years of Maisie. Cherished and devoted father of Lynette Quin (Auckland), Margaret Garnett (Christchurch), David (Western Australia), and Ross (Darfield). A dearly loved and respected grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many. Love and thanks to the staff of Ranfurly Manor for their continuing care.
Thomas attended PNBHS from 1950 to 1954.He played for the 1st XV, was involved with Debating and Boxing and was a school prefect. After qualifying in law, he worked as a barrister in Wellington and Lower Hutt. He was the Mayor of Lower Hutt from 1986 to 1995. In recent years he battled with Altzeimer’s and on 24 August he passed peacefully at Woburn Home, aged 80 years.
Dearly loved husband of Barbara; Much loved father & father-in-law of Laurence & Rochelle, Mike & Heather, and Geoff & Lynn; Loving grandad of Lauren, David, Daniel, Morgan, Briar, Will, Ben and Esme; Loved brother of Jim and George.
Grateful thanks to the Woburn Court staff for their loving care of Glen.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Frank attended PNBHS from 1938 to 1942. After school he obtained a Master’s degree in Physics and lectured at Victoria University in Wellington.
He then moved to Canada and completed a doctorate in low temperature physics at the University of British Columbia. Following this, he spent time as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Research Council of Canada Laboratories in Ottawa with D.K.C. MacDonald’s Low Temperature and Solid State Physics Group.
He worked for a period at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, setting up a low temperature physics laboratory. While at the University of Alberta, Dr. Manchester and his colleagues actively contested the introduction of the Bomarc Missile System into Canada. After finishing his spell at the University of Alberta, Dr. Manchester joined the Physics Department at the University of Toronto.
While there, Professor Manchester was engaged in research involving the physics of metal-hydrogen systems – particularly the palladium-hydrogen system – as well as macroscopic hydrogen-density modes in coherent and incoherent metal-hydrogen systems.
He authored and co-authored approximately ninety scientific publications. He enjoyed quoting poetry at appropriate and inappropriate times. He took a keen interest in issues that affect human life on this planet.
Dr. Manchester resided in Victoria, British Columbia, in his later years until his passing in May 2015 at the age of 90. Predeceased by his daughter Lise, he is survived by his sons Kim and Justin of Toronto, his daughter’s children, Ben Trueman of Halifax, Rosa Trueman of Fort McMurray and Jessie Trueman of Toronto, his loving wife and cherished best friend, Dorothy Clippingdale, and by his brother Brian and his family, of Waikenae, New Zealand.
John Hastilow (6063) at the wheel of his 1912 Cadillac with good mate Harvey Kerr (6468). Harvey died aged 65 in Auckland in December 2015 after a brief illness faced with courage and supported by wife Chris, family and friends. Harvey was the son of Roy and Cath Kerr who once owned the Broadway Service Station.
Harvey’s interest in vintage cars started at school. He commenced restoration of a 1914 Cadillac before being seduced by the classic models of the 1950s and then owned and motored a 1957 Cadillac V8.
A keen rugby player (2nd XV), involved with athletics, boxing and pipe band, Harvey achieved SC and UE and went on to establish a successful insurance and superannuation consultancy in Auckland.
Obituary for John Hastilow
Posted by CEO Blog on 25 November 2015
Earlier this month, at a Memorial Service, we paid tribute to Professor Sir John Scott, one of the truly great physicians of New Zealand medicine. While he touched the lives of many Professor Scott excelled as a physician, a teacher, a researcher and a medical leader.
Dr Briar Peat had the pleasure of knowing and working with Professor Scott over a period of 20 years. Briar shares her memories of this much admired and loved man.
John Scott was part of number of significant milestones in my medical career. As a medical student, a medical registrar and a young consultant, to me he was always Professor Scott.
Professor Scott became widely known by the public of New Zealand in 1973, when he lead the investigation by the Department of Medicine into what became known as the “Brych affair”, which included a trip “behind the Iron Curtain”, exposing Milan Brych as a fraud and eventually leading to his deregistration by the Medical Council in 1974.
As a researcher, Professor Scott was an expert in the field of lipid metabolism and enjoyed eating pastries, He always said he knew exactly the level of his cholesterol and was allowed to indulge.
He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (1987), in recognition of his important contributions as a researcher in the field of lipid metabolism and cardiovascular disease, and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for Services to Medicine (1988).
After heading the University Department of Medicine, (1979-1987), Professor Scott came out to Middlemore to head the University of Auckland Academic Unit in 1987. He told wonderful stories of the early days of the Medical School in Auckland, including stories of intrepid young researchers (who all became esteemed professors) ferrying a pig across Auckland in the back of a Fiat Bambina.
The most remarkable story he told me was that as a student at Knox College, he had been one of the chief perpetrators of the greatest UFO hoax in New Zealand history, the “Grand Interplanetary Hoax of 1952”, which completely fooled its intended target, the Otago Daily Times and gained significant international credence. He believed strongly in the scientific basis of medicine and spoke out strongly against pseudo-medicine. He believed that decisions should be made on “a basis of roundly presented, soundly analysed, best available information”. He decried “misinformation” and from his early days at Knox College, believed that the Establishment and the media should be held accountable. His dogged pursuit of the truth and his commitment to uncovering untruths lay beneath his somewhat remarkable ability to unearth a number of scandals and controversies in medicine throughout his career.
At Middlemore, Professor Scott’s primary focus was the nurturing of the relationship between the Clinical School and the Hospital and the fostering of a high quality research and learning environment, for which Counties continues to have a reputation second to none. During a period of repeated re-iterations of hospital services nationally, Professor Scott and David Clarke were the first in the country to re-introduce the role of a senior clinical leader, the Chief Medical Officer, of which Professor Scott was the first.
Professor Scott was an astute and caring physician who witnessed, and was part of, the rapid evolution of modern scientific medicine after the Second World War. His manner with patients always impressed me, Professor Sir John Scott, Knight of the Realm, always introduced himself to his patients as Dr Scott. Among others, he recounted the miracle that was the introduction of frusemide, before which the only treatments for heart failure were bed rest and digoxin. Despite his deeply scientific leanings, he believed firmly in the Art of Medicine and the care of the patient. “The craft of caring for patients is a legitimate, scientifically appropriate adjunct to medicine. That role is necessary for the comfort and sanity of human society. Osler said, “good clinical medicine will always blend the art of uncertainty with the science of probability” (1995).
Professor Scott was a remarkable teacher. He was deeply committed to us as medical students and young physicians. His living memorial is the generation of New Zealand doctors who benefited from his wisdom and example.
Dr Briar Peat
It is with regret that we report the deaths of Michael Harley Soo, 23 (right), and David James Hills, 22 (left), who died when their four-door sedan collided head-on with a heavy truck on State Highway 1 in South Waikato about 2.15pm on Saturday. They had been to the A Day To Remember concert in Auckland and had been on their way home.
David Hills dad Brian Hills described David as a “very well-liked young man”.
“He touched a lot of peoples hearts, he was a bit of a character.” Hills said David had just started to get himself “where he wanted to be”. “He had just started a new job with RD1, he [was] the assistant manager so he was starting to move.” David had developed a passion for tropical fish recently and Hills said he had a whole room in his flat of fish tanks. “He loved mountain biking and until he injured his knee he wasn’t a bad rugby player.”
David and Michael had been friends for many years.
Palmerston North Boys High School rector David Bovey said both Michael and David had been through the school and “they were good guys”. “David was a hard working young man, he was fully involved in the life of the school, he played rugby and played canoe polo. “He played a little bit of chess and was a quiet and courteous young man.”
Bovey said Michael was “a bit of a character”. “They played a bit of canoe polo together.” He said hearing about the deaths was “terribly sad”. “They were good guys and I know they will be terribly missed.”
Dick Denton was a boarder at College House, Palmerston North Boys High School for three years 1941–1943. He was a house and school prefect in 1943, as well as Regimental Sergeant Major of the school Cadet Corps. He won the Balsilhe Memorial Scholarship in 1942.
Dick excelled at athletics while at PNBHS for Gordon club. He was the Junior swimming champion in 1942 and the Senior champion in 1943 and set two new school records that lasted for a number of years. In 1942 he was a member of the rugby Second XV and reserve for First XV. He was a lock for the First XV in 1943 and later went on to represent Massey Agricultural College, and Manawatu. In 1945, Dick was selected to the North Island University team to play South Island University.
Dick was awarded a Diploma in Agriculture from Massey Agricultural College in 1945. He returned to Levin in 1946 and farmed sheep and cattle on 420 acres of farmland with his wife Pam until 1987, when he sold the property to his son John Denton and his wife Diane.
Dick and Pam’s two sons both attended PNBHS as boarders: Dr Richard Denton (1964-1968) who lives in California, and John Denton (1971-1973), a Public Accountant in his own practice in Levin. John’s son Michael (2002 – 2005) attended PNBHS as a day boy.
During his life in Levin, Dick served on the Horowhenua County Council and Rural District Council (1962-1977), and in 1984 was appointed a Justice of the Peace, performing Court and Judicial duties, and sometimes served as Acting Coroner. He also served for many years as Electorate Chairman for the National Party for the Otaki and Horowhenua electorates. He was a member of the Levin Jaycees, and later the Levin Lions Club and received a 50-year badge for his service as a member of the Masonic Lodge in Levin.
Dick’s dedication to his community was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2005 when he received a Queen’s Service Medal and five years later he was one of the first recipients of a medal from the Horowhenua District Council to recognise 50 Years of Community Service.
The family of a Linton soldier who died as a result of injuries suffered in a rugby league game have been offered a full military funeral. Lieutenant Samuel Andrew Scott, 21, was critically injured while taking part in an intra-unit rugby league nines tournament on Friday at Linton Military Camp. He was taken to Palmerston North Hospital, and later to Wellington Hospital, where he died on Wednesday.
Scott was a member of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals. A Defence Force spokeswoman said that as a serving officer, Scott was entitled to a military funeral, which would be held at the Linton camp, but it was up to his family whether they took up that option.
Friends of Scott paid tribute to him on Facebook, some changing their profile images to pictures of him, and expressing their shock at his sudden death. “Today we lost one of the best mates and one of the most genuine good guys that anyone could ever ask for,” wrote Zane Burn. “It is so hard to comprehend that you have left us for now, but there is no doubt that we will meet again some day.” Scott died playing a game he loved, in a job he loved, according to a statement from his family.
He was raised in Manawatu by Andrew and Louise Scott, prominent members of the equestrian community. He graduated from officer cadet school in December 2012, and went straight to work in the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals. It was a challenge he rose to, according to friend Stuart Glendinning. “I remember thinking you were crazy when you left [school] to join the army in sixth form, but man you took the challenge and you smashed it!”
Robert Douglas Acheson (Bob) died at Tauranga June 19th, 2012 aged 83 years. He is survived by wife Pam & family. Bob moved to Tauranga in the early ‘50’s having qualified as an Architect. He was responsible for designing many of the early modern buildings in Tauranga including one of the first high rise structures, the Bay of Plenty Savings Bank (now Westpac). Bob was at School from about 1942. He continued to play tennis in his later years.
The School mourns the recent loss of Mr Errol Brookie staff member 1955- 56 and 1960 – 1990. Errol Brookie was an old boy of the school and Head Prefect in 1948. As a student he played in the 2nd XV Rugby team and the 2nd XI Cricket team. He was club captain of Kia Ora club.
Mr Brookie was a teacher of Geography, English, History and Physical Education. He became Senior Master in 1974, was teacher in charge of rugby for 25 years, coach of the 2nd XV for 19 years and chairman of the Manawatu Secondary Schools Rugby Union for 20 years.
Mr Brookie was awarded a Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 1989. He was an entertainer who enthused and motivated. His classroom was dominated by personality, a blackboard and discipline. He was a traditionalist who wanted to preserve the school’s history and improve the school environment. Mr Brookie was a coach and organiser of cricket, boxing, cadets and was involved with numerous fundraisers like the famous 40 km Challenge Walks around Aokautere.
He was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Many a student would remember his Monday morning assemblies, the detentions, the cane, the loud voice and the smell of the pipe smoke wafting down corridors he had walked.
Mr Brookie provided 33 loyal years service to Palmerston North Boys’ High School. Zorro’s notes have continued as part of the Palmerstonian on an annual basis, until now. Mr Brookie will be sadly missed by the Palmerston North Boys’ High School community.
Sir, you have our respect and we thank you for your contributions. May you rest in peace.
Obituary from Barry Brown for Errol
Errol (like Coke) had a huge influence on me between 1964 and 1968 – he taught me Geography for 5 years and English for a year. From a pupil’s perspective he was an outstanding teacher then, and I assume that continued for the rest of his teaching career. His passion for Geography and his classroom humour meant that Errol’s classes were the best – and he was among some very good teachers (Merv Nixon, Malcolm Price, Merv Wills, de Wiele, Nagara and others, all of whom were outstanding in their own right.
Plus, like others, I have many, many fond memories of his (sometimes hilarious, but always very firm) assembly behaviour-enforcement role – his handling of the upper 5th guys was consummate man management.
Then there was his cadet leadership role (where his support for the Army cadets was in part aimed at irritating Grub Salter who was an Air Corps man), and his (almost pathological) support for Kia Ora (and the Second XV), often to irritate Coke. When Coke promoted the introduction of the (heavily-Murray house oriented) marching as a points-award activity at the Athletic sports Errol’s cynicism was not concealable.
Errol had achieved much more academically than Coke and his impact on the wider school population on a day-to-day level was probably much greater than Coke’s in my time at PNBHS, but because of Coke’s uncanny ability to innovate and his powerful influential single-minded personality (and a reputation backed by those whom he caned backhand and also backed by the easily-marshalled human resource of the hostel boys) meant that Coke had much more persuasive powers with Bull and Grub, so Coke had a greater role in the overall direction of the school. Errol was always the second fiddle and that must have irked him.
Errol also had an “other side of the tracks” kind of approach (which the cynical would possibly translate into envy) towards the professional classes who then inhabited Hokowhitu. He played it up in front of my mostly ex-Intermediate Normal classmates such as Grayson and Mackay.
I think Errol was a more complex individual than many thought – for someone with a heart of gold and a mischievous streak he was not easy to engage in conversation about the wider world, and you never really felt you knew him.
And the (well cared for) dark green Austin A40 (I think that was what it was) was then part of him…….
My father, Harold James (Jim) Opie passed away in Hamilton on 17/4/2012. He was 94, and a life member of the PNBHS Old Boys assn … he was also their Patron for 4-5 years I believe, but I am sorry that I do not have the dates for that. I think that he would have been at school 1930-1935, and was the high jump champ for 2 years and also played in the second fifteen. He worked for Newmans Coachlines for 42 years before retiring … after a while in Palmie, he and Holly moved to Perth for 2 years, then back to Tauranga until Mum died in 2009.
Graeme Opie (son)
“Parksy’ passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer.
Dave had many qualities, was an achiever, great all rounder, and successful in all things he turned his hands too. He was a leader being recognized early on as head Boy at PHBHS in 1968?? His strong personality and mischevious smile will be remembered by many as will his practical jokes and well executed pranks that were usually blamed on some innocent party e.g. the time at duck shooting when Dave connected all the shotgun trigger guards, lined up along the garden fence, to the nearby mains electric fence. He was persuasive and convincing in his own style but never held a grudge and agreed to disagree.
He was successful academically attaining a BAgrComm ex Lincoln University, spent a number of years working for the Rural Bank in various locations around the North Island before becoming a very successful farmer at Tataramoa just north of Dannevirke.
Dave was a great friend to many, loving husband to his lovely wife Wendy, father to Tim and Ben (both PNBHS oldboys) who are both forging strong careers in the financial world and a very proud grandfather.
Dave was a bloody good bugga – a lot of fun to be around, a great host and a great mate. He will be sorely missed but not forgotten.
Born in PN on 4 April 1948, Gowan died at home “Lacewood”, Waingaro on 18 November, 2010, aged 62.
Gowan grew up on Rowe Road, Rongotea and began his school days, at the small Waitohi primary school before attending PNBHS. As avery competitve sportsman, Gowan represented the school at athletics, tennis and rugby. In the 1st XV he scored 12 tries, 13 conversions and one penalty.
On leaving school Gowan went to Lincoln University to study agriculture. He then took a field supervisory position with ICI Chamicals where he met his wife, Sue. They took up beef and sheep farming in the Waikato where they brought up their three children – Jessica, a tax lawyer, Ben and John both surveyors.
Gowan’s two older brothers, Neville and Winston attended PNBHS as did their father Donald “DB” Rowe.
Dear Stu Leighton and Barrie Gibson,
May I introduce myself, Iain Steverson (5255) living in retirement in Newcastle NSW.
Sadly I advise of the passing of William L Birnie at Hamilton 7 August 2010 and thus the cessation of a true Palmerston North connection. William (Bill) L Birnie was the youngest son of William R. Birnie a member of the PNBHS Board of Governors from 1921 to 1947 (Chairman 1928/29).Mr. W.R. Birnie Senior was an inaugural partner of Birnie, Coombs and later Wilson (Gus Wilsons father) and lived opposite my family, at 240 Victoria Avenue.
Mr Bill Birnie Junior was aged 97 years 6 months at passing. He was originally home schooled for his Primary schooling but would have attended PNBHS in the mid 1920’s (not sure of dates).
He went on to become a leading New Zealand accountant working with amongst others William Cables’ in Wellington , New Zealand Steel etc and I understand was on a number of prestigious NZ Boards.
Unfortunately he was not able to travel to the centenary celebrations from his home in Cambridge due to health but enjoyed reading Bruce Hamilton’s excellent history.
He retained his remarkable ability with figures until the end.
Bill had an elder brother Jim and two sisters Mary ? McIver (married to a teacher at PN Tech/Queen Elizabeth Tech) and the inimitable Katie Birnie who was Deputy Principal of Palmerston North Girls High in the 1950/60’s.
Bill’s wife who passed on about a decade ago was an aunt of Cedric Gorman (5256). They had a family of one son (Bruce ex Marine Engineer/yachtsman and later Principal of Te Wananga O Aotearoa ,Manakau ) and three daughters.
My close association with the Palmerston North Birnie family was naturally from my earliest days and subsequently in later years with Bill’s family.
I worked as gardener for pocket money on Mr. WR’s large block for a number of years before going to sea in the Merchant Navy in 1955.
Mr. Birnie’s funeral is expected to be in Hamilton during this week following the return of Family from overseas
He was a fine man from a distinguished Scottish family.
Captain Iain Steverson FNI
Merv Nixon, former HOD of English at PNBHS from 1956 to 1974 passed away in Wellington 12 days short of his 99th birthday.
Below is an extract from the 1974 Palmerstonian:
Mr. Nixon completes forty-six years of service to teaching this year, and retires. For the last twenty years he has been head of the Department of English at this School and in charge of the Library. Mr. Nixon is reticent about his achievements and this seems to go with the fact that most of his successes have resulted from continuing and undramatic work as a classroom teacher and school librarian.
The importance of work in the library cannot be reckoned only in terms of the thousands of books dealt with; we value all that he has done. Similarly, in the academic field, apart from records in external exams, Mr. Nixon has had successes of which few would know. His pupils have had great success in open competition for essay prizes. These include almost continuous first places in the Navy League, Palmer Prize, Rotary Club, Framjee Essay, United Nations Essay, Royal Commonwealth Society and S.P.C.A. Competitions.
As a young graduate, Mr. Nixon made a considerable contribution to Maori education in Auckland region. Mr. Nixon came to us from a University Lectureship and with the distinction of First Class Honours in both Latin and French from Auckland University.
We have valued Merv’s presence with us and enjoyed his wry humour. We wish him a long and happy retirement, good health and good reading.