Farewell to founder
Mourners at the funeral of Stevenson and Taylor co-founder Peter Taylor heard of an only child who went on to have a large extended family, who rose from earning one pound aweek at his first job to helping establish a business still running strong 65 years later.
St Andrew’s CHB in Waipukurau was packed with around 130 mourners for last Wednesday’s funeral of the grandfather of nine and great grandfather of five.
Reverend Mike Coutts started the service by saying that ‘Pete’, who died aged 91 on August 11 with family by his side after a short stay at Mt Herbert House, had had “a good innings”.
His daughter Louise Clark paid tribute to her father’s caregivers who went the “extra mile” to allow Mr Taylor to remain in the Wellington Rd home he had sharedwith his latewife, Beryl, for as long as he could.
Mr Taylor’s eulogy was delivered by his grandson, James Clark, Louise’s youngest son.
He said his grandfather was born in Woodville, the only child of Don and Rita Taylor, who were workers on farms in Pahiatua and Eketa¯huna.
But due to their transient shepherding lifestyle, Mr Taylor spent a lot of time at Mangatainoka livingwith his maternal grandparents before eventually returning to livewith his parents to start correspondence school.
James said it was a lonely life for an only child, but his grandfather was comforted by the companionship of he farm animals and went on to develop a lifelong love of dogs.
In 1937 he had his first of four stints attending Waipukurau Primary and also attended tane School—“a very happy time” of his life— before leaving school aged 13.
His first job was for the Yates chain of grocery stores on a meagre starting wage of one pound aweek, before going to work atWilliams and Kettle Ltd in Waipukurauwhere he met lifelong friend, Ian ‘Mac’ Mackenzie.
The pair would often go rabbit shooting and before long he had met his other best mate, Brian O’Connor, who introduced him to trout fishing which soon become a passion.
Mr Taylor later honoured his best mates by naming his two sons after them, after marrying Beryl in 1960.
Mr Taylor then worked for four years atWaipukurau Engineering Company in the lube bay, which James said was a steep learning curve for his grandfather and involved aworkplace explosionwhich cost him some facial skin and most of his hair.
He then went to work at McLean’s Garage and in
1953 opened engineering firm Stevenson and Taylor with partner Bill Stevenson in the old blacksmith’s on the corner of Russell St.
Early the next year he left the garage to work full- time at Stevenson and Taylor where he took on the forging work. Adirector and shareholder, he ended up in the parts department before retiring from the business in 1988.
James Clark said his grandfather had many hobbies, including chess and stamp collecting, and became a life member of both the CHB Anglers Club and the CHB Winemakers and Brewers Club.
In retirement, he enjoyed spending timewith his growing brood of grandchildren and great grandchildren and could often be found in his garden or cavernous shed with a dog close by.
“He will be remembered as a great story teller, gardener, winemaker, at times a furious debater, but above all, a loving husband father, grandfather and friend. Ta-ta Pete,” said James.
Brian O’Connor’s son Sean delivered a tribute toMr Taylor, who he said remained a prominent part of his life after his father died when he was 11.
“Pete was always there for mumand forme, never too busy to offer help and advice. This meant a huge amount to us.”
He said he looked up to Pete his whole life.
“He showed me what it meant to be a good father, good husband and friend. Pete was the most genuine and sincere person I’ve ever met,” he said.
After the funeral, a private cremation was held before daughter Louise held an open home at Kirriemuir Farm.
“People came out and reminisced. It was a lovely gathering. It was just as he would havewanted,” she said.