‘A true gen­tle­man’


Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

THE death of the last mayor of Mt Eden marks the end of an era, those who knew him say.

Gor­don Johns was mayor of Mt Eden Bor­ough from 1986 un­til 1989 when it was amal­ga­mated into Auck­land City Coun­cil.

He was later the pres­i­dent of the Mt Eden Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, vol­un­teered tire­lessly for St Barn­abas Church, the Mt Eden Hall and Se­nior Cit­i­zens Club and the Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion. Un­til last year he was the or­gan­iser of Mt Eden’s An­zac Day ser­vices.

The 84-year-old died on Jan­uary 16 at Mid­dle­more hospi­tal af­ter a heart at­tack.

Mr Johns had a ‘‘great sense of com­mu­nity’’ and ‘‘couldn’t abide fool­ish­ness’’ Al­bert-Eden-Roskill Ward coun­cil­lor Chris­tine Fletcher says ‘‘Gor­don’s pass­ing marks the end of a spe­cial era,’’ she says.

In 2008 St Barn­abas church was asked by the Auck­land City Coun­cil to take down a road sign ad­ver­tis­ing Christ­mas trees it was sell­ing as a fundraiser.

The church was threat­ened with a $20,000 fine if it didn’t com­ply.

Mr Johns was a parish­ioner and got on the case. Within 24 hours the is­sue had been sorted.

Mr Johns was born on Novem­ber 2, 1929 and grew up in Mt Eden and Eden Tce.

He met his fu­ture wife of 60 years, Beverly, when they were stu­dents at Kowhai Intermediate School.

He owned Crys­tal Mo­tors, orig­i­nally on Mt Eden Rd, from 1968 un­til the 2000s.

His en­try to lo­cal pol­i­tics came in the late 1970s.

‘‘When we were young, any­thing we were in­volved in he got in­volved in: school com­mit­tees, ath­let­ics clubs, Sun­day school,’’ his daugh­ter Ruth Fuller­ton says.

‘‘He was al­ways fight­ing for the un­der­dog. He was a real gen­tle­man,’’ she says.

The amal­ga­ma­tion of the Mt Eden Bor­ough into Auck­land City was one of the big­gest fights of his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

‘‘He re­sisted the change and used to fear what would hap­pen to the lo­cal area.’’

The cur­rent di­rec­tion of lo­cal pol­i­tics was a con­cern for him, she says.

Mr Johns moved to Paku­ranga to be closer to his fam­ily af­ter his wife died in 2010.

There he had time to pur­sue his love of cars.

Mr Johns’ de­vo­tion to the com­mu­nity was with­out peer, Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board chair­man Peter Haynes says.

‘‘The mark of the man for me was when he greeted my then one-year old son last year and shook his hand. He was the first per­son to do so – a true gen­tle­man.’’

Fondly re­mem­bered: For­mer mayor of Mt Eden Bor­ough Gor­don Johns and his wife Beverly on their 60th wed­ding an­niver­sary. Mr Johns died on Jan­uary 16. His wife died in 2010.

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