Garry O’Neill was humbled and delighted to receive the Queen’s Service Medal.
His wife Margaret says Garry did not dedicate the past 30 years to his passion for researching Palmerston North history for any reward.
The former principal of Our Lady of Lourdes retired 32 years ago.
“That was the time I became involved in historical research.”
It was the late Brian Mather who Garry says stimulated his interest to look further into the history of the city, and also his mother Molly O’Neill, nee Regan.
Garry received a congratulatory letter from a previous student who said his documenting and preserving history was important.
There won’t be another book, he says, confirmed by Margaret, and his work station is now a laptop on his knee.
“I grew up on Limbrick St, so there could be something else.”
He speaks of the umbrella factory and the bakery that was on his street, and it’s all simmering in his mind.
“One day it just might just become clear and out it will come.”
Garry O’Neill received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to historical research which he has dedicated the past 30 years researching and writing about Palmerston North suburbs.