City identity had long career with council
When David Lean first met Jack Kettlewell, he was scared of him.
‘‘He had a very gruff exterior to those who didn’t know him, but a heart bigger than most people I know.’’
Kettlewell died peacefully on Saturday, aged 92.
He spent 26 years with the New Plymouth District Council, the first 21 as deputy city engineer and the last five as city engineer.
Lean, who worked with Kettlewell during his time as mayor, said he was a fantastic engineer with his own little idiosyncrasies.
‘‘He had a huge ability to prepare for New Plymouth’s future.’’
Some major projects Kettlewell was behind included New Plymouth’s waterworks development, the Huatoki Stream flood protection scheme, and the design and re-organisation of the city engineer’s department.
‘‘He really achieved heaps,’’ Lean said.
‘‘I admired him and enjoyed his friendship.’’
Kettlewell began his World War II service in the army at age 18, serving in Libya, Egypt and Italy.
Some of this time was spent driving tanks, Lean said.
‘‘I used to see him at most rugby matches on his mobility scooter.
‘‘He used to drive down Carrington St to Vogeltown Park on his scooter the same way he used to drive the tanks.’’
Kettlewell’s son, Neil, said his father was a character and a great dad.
‘‘He built us yachts to go sailing in and he used to take all the kids camping out Weld Rd.’’
Kettlewell was born in Wellington and attended Johnsonville Primary School and Wellington Boys’ College.
After he returned from the war, he worked on the Wellington water supply then studied at Vic- toria and Canterbury universities, gaining a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Canterbury in 1951.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Neurological Foundation, Taranaki division.
A service for Kettlewell will be held in the chapel of W Abraham, 366 Devon St East, on Wednesday.
Full life: Former New Plymouth District Council engineer and World War II veteran Jack Kettlewell died on Saturday, aged 92.