‘Pas­sion­ate out­doors­man’ dies af­ter car crash

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MARTY SHARPE

If there were two things Les Mil­don didn’t like, it was at­ten­tion, and any­thing that dis­tracted him from white­bait­ing or hunt­ing.

Mil­don died on Satur­day, two days be­fore his 82nd birth­day. The Napier man was widely known, hav­ing spent nearly five decades as a butcher in the city.

His son Rus­sell said he was a ‘‘firm but fair’’ man who en­joyed so­cial­is­ing, but liked noth­ing more than deer-hunt­ing and white­bait­ing.

Be­cause the open­ing of the white­bait­ing sea­son was around the time of his birth­day, Mil­don was of­ten out of town. It was with some re­luc­tance that he agreed to be in town for his 80th, Rus­sell said.

Mil­don was on his way to Wairoa on Satur­day morn­ing to meet an­other son for a few days white­bait­ing when his car left SH2 be­tween Pu­torino and Tu­tira and came to rest on rail­way lines.

He man­aged to ex­tri­cate him­self from his car, climb up a bank and wave down a pass­ing mo­torist. He was taken by am­bu­lance to Hawke’s Bay Hos­pi­tal but his con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated and he died on Satur­day night.

Les was ‘‘an ab­so­lutely pas­sion­ate out­doors­man’’ with a strong pen­chant for hunt­ing and white­bait­ing.

‘‘He was up in the Ruahines hunt­ing four months ago, broke his leg and was stuck in the bush wait­ing to be found, then had to be he­li­coptered out. He re­cov­ered well and the first thing he wanted to do was start pre­par­ing for the white­bait­ing sea­son,’’ Rus­sell said.

Les would of­ten go away for days or weeks to catch white­bait on the Wairoa or Waikare Rivers.

‘‘He’d pack his wagon up and just go if the white­bait were run­ning. Then he’d come back and dis­trib­ute his catch among friends, fam­ily and oth­ers,’’ Rus­sell said.

His fa­ther was firm but com­pas­sion­ate, Rus­sell said. ‘‘He didn’t of­ten say a great deal. What he said, you lis­tened to’’.

His work re­volved around his com­mit­ment to be in the hills, or white­bait­ing, but he con­tin­ued work­ing as a butcher un­til a few years ago. Most re­cently he worked at Downey’s City Butch­ery on Mc­Grath Street.

Les was raised in Wairoa and moved to Napier where he met fu­ture wife Jenny. They mar­ried in 1958. They have four chil­dren, eleven grand­chil­dren and two great-grand­chil­dren.

The Se­ri­ous Crash Unit was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the crash.

PHOTO: MARTY SHARPE/FAIRFAX NZ

Ma­jor Kee­lan will be off the streets.

Les Mil­don

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