Ohau crash victim remembered as talented builder and special guy
Rowan Yeager spent two years building a home for himself. But a tragic accident cut his life short, a week from move-in day.
Yeager, 34, died after he crashed his vehicle in the early hours of Anzac Day, near Lake Ohau.
Yeager’s death has shocked his family and close friends who remember him as an avid outdoor lover, and a ‘‘talented’’ builder.
The death of their son had not yet sunk in for parents Brenda and Ross Yeager, who said ‘‘totally unbelievable’’.
They remembered Rowan as a man who loved sports, including snowboarding and surfing, and said he was a good tennis and soccer player.
Rowan and his younger brother Nick grew up on the Hibiscus Coast, north of Auckland.
Rowan moved to Queenstown more than 15 years ago, eventually selling up to go live at Lake Ohau, Brenda Yeager said.
Rowan was about to move into the home he had spent the past two it was years building, she said. ‘‘He never got to live in his home that he spent so many hours [building] ... by hand, all by himself.’’
The family had been supported by Rowan’s high school friends, who had visited the family to ‘‘have a good reminisce’’ upon hearing of his death.
The family planned to travel to Lake Ohau to meet and thank everyone for their kind words and support.
Childhood friend Andrew Weatherall remembered Yeager as a ‘‘fun guy’’ and the ‘‘life of the party’’. The news of his best friend’s death had been ‘‘pretty hard to hear’’, Weatherall said.
Both men shared a love for ‘‘powder days’’ up the mountain, he said.
Yeager was an ‘‘amazing builder’’ who would take the opportunity to get up the Ohau ski fields when there was snow, he said.
Weatherall and Yeager, along with another friend, had bought the land where Yeager had been building the house, so they could build a ski bach.
Neighbour Snow Davies watched Yeager storied house.
‘‘All that work done and he never got to live in it. In that aspect, it’s quite sad.’’
Yeager was good with his hands and was a ‘‘talented’’ builder, Davies said.
‘‘It’s not a nice feeling knowing he’s not coming back.’’
Lake Ohau Lodge owner Mike Neilsonmet Yeager more than two years ago and employed him in ‘‘odd construction jobs’’.
He was a ‘‘very special guy’’, Neilson said. build the two-
‘‘He certainly became known and liked by the munity.’’
Sergeant Blair Corlett, of Oamaru, said a passerby came across Yeager, who had been ejected from his car and was found a couple of metres from where it landed, at Freehold Creek Bridge and contacted emergency services at 5.30am.
The police serious crash unit was continuing inquiries.
A funeral for Yeager will be held in Whangaparaoa on Tuesday. wellcom-
Rowan Yeager playing with Lincoln and Hugo Weatherall.