Fitting farewell for pilot
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.