Couple killed in crash were together in life
Ian and Mary Smith did everything together.
The Taupo-based couple founded a engineering firm and would go on to send shockwaves through the fraternity when Ian, 80, appointed his wife, 74, co-director.
They were inseparable and were known for wearing matching suits.
And it was together, next to each other in the couple’s Mercedes, that they both died after a head on smash south of Tokoroa almost two weeks ago.
The pair were heading from their home in Taupo to Hamilton about 8.30am when their car and a southbound truck crashed head-on on State Highway 1.
The driver of the truck was also injured and was taken to Tokoroa Hospital in a moderate condition.
Taupo road policing manager Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said police were continuing investigations into the crash and would not comment on any specifics.
Wellington engineer and former employee Stuart Preston, who worked with Smith from 1994 until 2000, said the couple were inseparable.
‘‘To the point of wearing complementary outfits, in the late 90s it was matching cream linen suits.
‘‘Their biggest priority was family.’’
In his tenure as an engineer at Smith Leuchars Ltd firm, Ian Smith was instrumental in the structural design of most of the capital’s 1980s skyline.
Among his accolades are the now State Insurance Building, formerly known as the BNZ Centre, former Public Trust building, Telecom towers and numerous office buildings in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
‘‘The most remarkable thing about Ian is the number of very capable engineers that he mentored over his time.
The couple sold up in 2000 and planned to semi-retire in Taupo.
But in February 2011 the earthquake changed the Christchurch landscape and created a shortage for qualified structural engineers.
Ian opened another office in Wellington to deal with the influx of seismic work.
As a man, Preston said Ian Smith was gently spoken, generous with his time and extremely polite and respectful, while Mary was a forthright, strong woman.
Ian and Mary Smith were killed in a fatal crash south of Tokoroa last Friday.