Thursday, 15 November 2018

Obituary: Dave Page, 1932-2018

Dave Page was born in 1932 into a family deeply affected by the depression. His father was unemployed and his mother resented lining up to accept food parcels. Unsurprisingly Dave developed a great sympathy for the working man. Eventually his father found work and Dave had a happy childhood, inheriting a love of reading from his parents. He attended Palmerston North Boys’ High, where he was in the 1st XV and enjoyed the rugby clashes with other schools. While still at school Dave mowed lawns and took paid work in a honey factory, then later at the Longburn freezing works in the holidays to help fund his university education.

He was the first in his family to go to university, majoring in geography and again playing rugby. One Sunday he was missing from practice and this was so out of character that his coach went to his flat to find out why. Dave’s flat-mates thought that he was just asleep but, when the coach investigated, he found that Dave was in a coma and suffering from meningitis. He was rushed to hospital and survived, thanks his coach's vigilance. While at teachers’ college he met Louise Blyth; they were married in 1956 and had a son Rob and a daughter Jessica.

Dave began his teaching career at Tauranga High School, then moved to Kurow and later to Opunake. His first position as principal was at Reporoa College and then spent 15 years at Foxton. Dave was an excellent teacher, working long hours, coaching rugby and taking a keen interest in other school sporting activities. He was also a keen supporter of a good education for Maori children. Dave was also involved in Lions’ Clubs and enjoyed playing golf, bridge and crib. The family enjoyed many camping holidays together, first in tents and later in a caravan.

In 1985 Dave took part in a teacher exchange programme and taught in a tough comprehensive school in Alloa, Scotland, where he was an assistant teacher. While there he and Louise saw travelled throughout the United Kingdom. Dave decided to retire in 1993 at the age of 61, wanting to spend more time with Louise at their home in Waihi, having previously lived all their married life in education houses. They made many friends there and their time was spent building, gardening, tramping and travelling.

In 2004 Louise died and Dave faced a couple of bleak and lonely years. In 2006 he found solace and affection with Ursula whose husband had died at about the same time as Louise. They enjoyed several trips to Europe and the couple established a great life in Tauranga where Dave soon joined the Historical Society, served on the committee from 2009 to 2013, providing thoughtful and helpful advice and assistance to many aspects of the Society. He also published an article on the Society's blog on the Waihi Golf Club, about which he had written a history, Centennial History Waihi Golf Club 1906-2006. He guided at Brain Watkins House for many years.

About a year ago Dave was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spent his last months at Althorp. He died last Thursday, aged 86.

Many thanks to Peg Cummins for providing notes for this obituary.

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