By PHILIP CHANDLER
A legend in local real estate, skiing and golfing circles, Queenstowner Doug Brown, who died last week aged 92, is also being remembered as a gentleman and a great family man.
He’s survived by sons Nigel, Derek, Maurice and Julian, and was predeceased in 2017 by his wife of 61 years, Betty.
Raised in Christchurch, where he first worked as a surveyor, he moved into real estate after his family relocated to Invercargill.
Skiing first at Garston, he was an early skier at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak after it opened in 1947.
He later took all his family up to Coronet Peak during weekends over winter, and didn’t do a bad job teaching his sons to ski – they all went on to represent New Zealand in ski racing.
The family would stay at a house Doug built in Hallenstein Street in 1965 – Derek recalls it being the first double-glazed house in NZ.
Among his real estate successes in Invercargill, Doug sourced 50-plus houses for aluminium smelter employees.
In 1970, he took his family to Sydney, Australia, where he worked in commercial real estate.
Derek says they’d planned to go on to Northern Ireland, where Betty hailed from, but due to the sectarian conflict there they moved full-time to Queenstown instead, in ’73.
The couple then bought a property on the Ballarat St/Henry St corner for $30,000, which they redeveloped as a four-level family home.
Derek recalls when it came to deciding the pitch of the roof, his dad stood by the post office, waving his arms up and down.
Doug bought a Shotover St property that had a fruit shop, which he carried on with for two years, as required by the vendor, before setting up Queenstown Real Estate.
A Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of NZ, he again enjoyed great success in local real estate.
“He would never put it across anyone, he just told it the way it was,” Derek says.
He was also prominent in the Wakatipu Ski Club, and was one of those behind moving its headquarters from downtown Queenstown to Coronet Peak in ’79.
He helped convince skifield owner Mount Cook Group to give club members cheap lessons, and was instrumental in all local schoolchildren getting free skiing.
His other passion was golf – he played for Southland when he lived in Invercargill, and harboured ambitions of turning pro.
In latter years, his Mercedes towing a golf cart to the Kelvin Heights course was a familiar sight – the same cart used by then-United States President Bill Clinton on his visit to Arrowtown’s Millbrook in ’99.
To mark Doug’s passing, ex-Queenstown Golf Club president Alan Brown organised for the Kelvin Heights golf course flag to be flown at half-mast.