Ronald Frederick Reynolds
17 October 1927 –28 October 2017
On Saturday our beloved father passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving four daughters. He had said goodbye to us all including his grandchildren. On the 2nd of November we celebrated his life.
( Just to be clear, this was not just written by me but by all of us including my brother in laws. This section was my part in the service and family overseas have asked for it.)
Our father, Ronald Frederick Reynolds was an incredible dad, grandad, father-in-law, brother, son, uncle, friend, and mentor. He was loved and adored by his wife of 60 years, Katie, his four daughters and all eight grandchildren.
He had one older sister, Shirley.
Dad had a long successful career as an accountant and auditor and yet still maintained his sense of family.
Details of facts
He was born on the 17th October 1927 to Emily Victoria and Frederick William Reynolds in Rangiora Public Hospital just out of Christchurch.
Like many of his age his early memories also included growing up during the “depression” a very difficult time for all families. However, he described his early childhood as humble but happy, growing up with his sister on his family’s apple orchards in Loburn with his parents, Grandma and Grandad Saxton.
As a child, those around Ron called him ‘Snow’ because of his white blonde hair.
His Father, Fred, loved fishing, if you can call catching white bait and using it as fertilizer on the vege garden fishing.
Fred also loved to hunt rabbits, but young Ron wasn’t so keen on this – he hated seeing the dead bunnies.
He also remembers how he and Shirley would go into the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch. To prove his fishing prowess to his sister they made little fishing lines with sewing needles and fished for goldfish. Of course this was a no no and they got caught, ending the day with a hiding from Dad
Our father developed a love for the outdoors; tramping and sailing. He learned to sail on Lyttelton Harbour at a very early age and continued sailing for most of his life.
His mum used to coach basketball for North Canterbury.
While watching one game, the basketball bounced into the side-lines and hit dad in the face breaking his nose. Dad never learned how to dodge balls. At Intermediate, while playing hockey a ball to the face reshaped his otherwise perfect smile.
Sadly, when Dad was 17, his mother passed away. This was near the end of the Second World War. Everyone was celebrating but he and Shirley were miserable.
At 24, our father was an Accountant working for Nottingham & Son Chemical Manufacturer. It wasn’t long until he felt trapped in the system deciding that he couldn’t bear to be entrenched in this job for the rest of his life.
As luck would have it, he saw an advertisement for the Samoa Audit Department – he applied and won the position arriving in Samoa in 1953 by flying boat. He worked there as an auditor for the NZ Government.
Two years passed before he returned to Christchurch to catch up with his dad, new step mother, Eth, and step sister Joan.
In 1956, Katie returned from Europe and Ron first clapped eyes on her at Treasury. She was the new Charge Typist. His initial reaction was “Where did she spring from? What a beautiful girl.” And then described her as “a very uppity young lady with a posh English accent.”
Dad got her attention by flicking her typewriter return. Not sophisticated by any means but it worked.
A year later Ron married Katie signing their wedding certificate with red colouring pencil. Now for the serious work – Kathie followed 9 months later, Astrid 2 years later then Sonya. At this point we were always told that they were going to stop – we don’t know who convinced whom, but mum always wanted a brown eyed, dark haired boy. Enter Biddy.
Even though mum and dad didn’t have a son, we had brothers. First came Patrick, then Peter and finally Fred. They all became very special to our parents.
As a family in Samoa, we have many happy memories of dad including;
- Yacht Racing every Sunday on his 14-foot laser yacht when he was not in Savaii,
- Picnics on the other side of the island, usually on a Sunday after church,
- We loved Salamumu, and on the way back would swim in the fresh water pools at the top of the Mafa Pass or visiting Papaseea (Sliding Rocks).
His Datsun station wagon, our main form of transport, on those bumpy roads, lasted well indeed.
Over the years, our dad built up a business working as an accountant / auditor in Samoa. He also spent time helping businesses start up, including Apia Bottling Co, Polynesian Airlines just to name a couple.
In 1973, all but our dad, immigrated to Christchurch, because his family lived there. Dad kept his business in Samoa and commuted.
He was then heavily involved with Polynesian Airlines. We remember him making trips to the Boeing factory in Seattle to buy aircraft for the fledgling airline. To occupy his spare time in Samoa, he would train with the Manu Samoa team by jogging up Mt Vaea.
Our life in NZ changed from Sunday picnics on the other side of a tropical island to tobogganing in the snow at Porters Pass, swimming in the Ashley River or at Taylors Mistake. Dad was always behind the camera and insisted on taking our photos .
In 1981, Dad finally left Samoa the island he grew to love and moved back to NZ for good. He joined Lane Walker Rudkin finishing his work life there and retired with mum when she turned 60.
They spent their golden years playing golf, travelling and having adventures such as camping at Totaranui, travelling around Canada via camper, going to Bali, the Gold Coast of Australia, driving to Foxton to visit Shirley or visiting his grown children and taking delight in his many grandchildren.
Our parents moved to Auckland in 1995 to be closer to their grandchildren.
Dad continued with community service and was the Treasurer for the Lion’s Club – during December you would often find dad and mum selling Christmas cakes. He also helped with Senior Net and regularly ran sessions on using Spreadsheets.
Our father loved his sport, particularly rugby. He was never one eyed. When Canterbury played they had to win and when the all blacks played they had to win, except of course when they played Manu Samoa.
He would often be found glued to the television with the rugby, netball, hockey, or the America’s Cup.
Ron was a healthy old fellow. He learned to ski when he was 50, bungy jumped in his 70s and right up until his early 80s was still playing golf, driving, walking, swimming and fixing things.
One of these fixing activities saw him fall from the 2nd storey roof of his house and bruise his internal organs. We thought we might have lost him then as he was in hospital for several weeks – but he mended.
In 2008 when he was 81, our father took a trip to Australia to meet his long-lost cousins for the very first time, a highlight for our dad. We are so grateful to them for creating a great memory for Dad.
Ron cherished his independence fiercely, but finally agreed to move in with me so we could help him with mum. The move in 2013 was not easy for both dad and mum because they were so used to their independence and they knew their bossy daughter well. But with Kathie’s less than gentle determination, I returned home from a trip away to find my house taken over by… Parents!!
The last four years have been happy times as together we looked after dad and mum at home: I was on night shift, Kathie on day shift and Astrid doing all the grooming, medical appointments and running around.
This year saw a couple of milestones for dad: the first was his and mum’s 60th Wedding Anniversary in May and just 2 weeks ago, his 90th birthday. He has had such a full life and we were very lucky to have him as our Father and to see the role model of a loving husband for our mother.
2 thoughts on “Ronald Reynolds”
Hi Sonya. I belatedly stumbled across your beautiful tribute to your Dad. It triggered a lovely nostalgia rush after so many years. Best wishes to you and all your family.
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A lovely, heart-warming narrative, Sonya. Thank you for sharing. A special man and family. God bless you all.
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