Fit­ting farewell for pi­lot

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

John Shut­tle­worth was a cool, mod­ern-day rene­gade sky pi­rate to his grand­chil­dren.

They were among the hun­dreds who turned out to cel­e­brate John’s life on a ‘‘boomer day’’ at the place where he died last week - do­ing what he loved - at his beloved Wa­haroa Aero­drome

John achieved a lot, gave to many and never asked for much in re­turn. Friend Den­nis Trot­ter said John had an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit.

‘‘He prob­a­bly would have sold tick­ets to this,’’ he said as the crowd roared with laugh­ter.

He also re­minded those there that no good would come from jump­ing to con­clu­sions about his death.

‘‘It’s not up to me or oth­ers to spec­u­late about the cause of that ac­ci­dent.’’

Born in March 1936 in Grey­mouth, John’s sis­ter Anne said it was ev­i­dent from a young age that her brother was go­ing to be a pi­lot.

As a lit­tle boy he ran around, arms wide, swoop­ing and soar­ing while mak­ing aero­plane noises and chas­ing imag­i­nary clouds.

How­ever, it wasn’t un­til later in his life that he de­cided to be­come a fly­ing in­struc­tor and then a com­mer­cial pi­lot.

‘‘Dad was set on be­com­ing a com­mer­cial pi­lot and threw him­self at his stud­ies with full vigour,’’ his son Sam said.

A bril­liant fly­ing in­struc­tor, his stu­dents counted them­selves as blessed to be un­der his tute­lage.

‘‘To hear that Philips Search and Res­cue Trust is will­ing to ded­i­cate the train­ing fa­cil­ity to dad’s mem­ory is un­be­liev­ably spe­cial to our fam­ily,’’ Sam said.

Week­days were for work­ing and week­ends were for fly­ing.

His T51 Mus­tang was his labour of love and it was ap­pro­pri­ately named Miss Dixon after his wife, Na­dia. It dis­played a strik­ingly beau­ti­ful por­trait of her.

He and Na­dia met at a Satur­day night dance in the sum­mer of 1957 and by 1958 they were mar­ried.

Fol­low­ing the birth of their youngest son, Sam, the Shut­tle­worth fam­ily moved to Mor­rinsville in 1973, where they op­er­ated a very suc­cess­ful Four Square and Ru­ral De­liv­ery Ser­vices busi­ness.

The­atre was his wife’s pas­sion and fly­ing was John’s, and although very dif­fer­ent hob­bies, they sup­ported each other whole­heart­edly.

Mu­sic was an­other one of John’s great loves and he could of­ten be found lis­ten­ing to classical mu­sic or play­ing the pi­ano.

He was a well re­spected mem­ber of the Mor­rinsville com­mu­nity and the fly­ing fra­ter­nity and a mem­ber of the Pi­ako Glid­ing Club.

John Shut­tle­worth is sur­vived by his wife, Na­dia, chil­dren Amanda, Rob and Sam, 12 grand­chil­dren and one great­grandaugh­ter.

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