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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 48, September 2004

ROBERT STEPHEN (BOB) MORRISON--OCTOBER 1918 - OCTOBER 2003 - 85 YEARS

Editor's note: The following Eulogy, dated 10 October 2003, was given at the Funeral of the late Bob Morrison, by Willie Lynch.


It is my privilege to give this eulogy to Bob today on behalf of Doreen, Christine and Morrie. I would also like to thank you all for being here to support them at this time.

Bob was the last born in a family of eight and he lived with his six brothers - John, Hans, Pat, Fred, Ken, Allan and his sister, Kath, with their parents on their family farm at Netherton. There they enjoyed many musical evenings organised by their mother, Isabella.

On the family farm, the seven boys had to help with the milkings, which were then done by hand. They each had to hand-milk the number of cows corresponding to their age. So Birthdays were a bit different in those days. When you turned eight, you had an extra cow to milk, and that became nine on your ninth birthday. I somehow don't think that this would work today!

When Bob was fourteen, his father, John, died suddenly of septicaemia, resulting from a blackberry prickle. This obviously threw the family into turmoil and the older brothers then undertook to help bring up Bob, who lived initially with his brother, Pat and his wife, Doris, and worked on their farm at Brookdale. During that time Bob purchased his first car, an Austin 7, which he bought from money earned by washing and selling beer bottles when he was aged sixteen. Now armed with a car, he started dating Doreen when they were both seventeen and eventually they married when they were twenty-two.

In their courting days, Bob and Doreen enjoyed tennis on the Morrison farm at Netherton and later, after marriage, golf at the then Awaiti course and also indoor bowls in the Netherton Hall.

They purchased a farm at the end of Fisher Road, Netherton and, with £1,000, built a house on the property and then started paying off the farm. When Bob and Doreen were thirty-three, Christine was born.

In 1962, Bob decided that he needed a change from the dairy farming scene and they sold the farm property to the Roskam family. They then shifted into their De Castro Street home in Paeroa, where they have continued to live ever since.

In the years immediately after the farm sale, Bob single-handedly built a multi-level house on the corner of Sarjant Road, Te Puru, Thames Coast, on a section that they had owned for some time. I am sure that many of Bob and Doreen's nieces and nephews would have enjoyed happy times at that property, when there was a small bach on it.

Bob also did welding work at Innes Morrison's business and worked at the Paeroa racecourse. It was while he was painting the roof of the grandstand that he had a fall which landed him in hospital with a badly injured foot, hence his limp. This injury continued to trouble Bob from that point on, but in his way he just dealt with it and never complained and got on with his life.

In the mid '60s, Bob persuaded Doreen to join him in purchasing the Step In Shoe Store and, due to their cheerful personalities the business prospered, with Bob turning his hand to shoe repairs and the re-colouring of shoes. This business was sold in the early '70s and Bob then worked in Real Estate for Peter Lane for a short time prior to working for Ken Kay at Paeroa Home Furnishings.

I was talking to Ken recently about those times and he commented to me that Bob was a great asset to him in that business, not only because of his previous business experience, but also because of his many skills as a handy man that were always very useful. His friendly and outgoing personality, as we all know, was clearly another attribute he brought to this role.

In 1981 Bob retired from that job and he and Doreen went for their Big O.E. I am told that the only item Bob left behind was his favourite Marmite and I believe that he also missed it badly. Well, Bob, if Marmite has kept you going all these years, then you have been a great advert for it!

Bob played golf and bowls into his eighty-fourth year and in doing so, he was the oldest playing member of the Paeroa Golf Club for the last years of his membership of that Club. Bob loved company and if the company was also with a beer or two, he was in his element.

In later life, Bob's creative skills came to the fore. He was always proud of doing all his home maintenance, whether it be painting, papering or plumbing, and he also did his own car repairs. He was a real kiwi fix-it man of the highest calibre. A chronic hoarder, Bob would also save everything, just in case it could be useful later on, and I am told, it often was.

Not many people would have known it, but Bob also had a great talent for music, both with the accordion and the piano. He obviously helped and encouraged Christine from an early age, and she has been lucky enough to inherit those same talents and in her own right, develop them to a high level of performance, right through to the present time.

Bob and Doreen celebrated their sixtieth Wedding Anniversary almost three years ago and they have been wonderful parents to Christine and also loving grandparents to their grandson, Morrie. Even though Christine and Morrie have lived in Wellington, Bob and Doreen have kept in constant contact and Morrie would have enjoyed many happy holidays in Paeroa, with his grandparents.

So today, we are all here to say farewell to a true gentleman. We therefore all salute you, Bob. God bless.