Boyd ‘giant of a man’

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THE late Jock Boyd was this week eulogised as a “quiet, unassuming, giant of a man”. 

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral service of the prominent Queenstown developer, tourism pioneer, war veteran and community titan at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Tuesday afternoon. 

They watched, many in tears, as the coffin of Boyd, draped in a New Zealand flag, was carried in by family and friends to the 1943 forces’ favourite Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer – befitting a veteran who served with RAF Bomber Command in the skies above Germany during World War II. 

The coffin later left the church to the haunting melody of Flower of Scotland, played by piper Keith Cameron, before being driven on the back of a 1944 Willys Jeep to Frankton Cemetery for burial. 

Boyd impacted everyone’s lives in the Wakatipu, St Andrew’s Rev Ian Guy said.

He urged mourners not to be too quick to wipe their “tear-stained faces”. 

“They are a sign of your respect and your love for a man who’s been a solid friend, a kind father, a brother, a granddad and great granddad,” Guy says. 

Boyd died at Christchurch Hospital last Thursday, two days after his 94th birthday and just a week after he left Queenstown for more specialist medical care – and in order to live closer to his daughters. 

Daughter Catherine Boyd gave the eulogy on behalf of her family, describing Boyd’s character. 

Her father was “a most remarkable man” of “huge energy and drive”. 

“My father can be defined in part I think by his sense of honour, by his understanding of right and wrong. 

“He was a fiercely loyal man, loyal to his family, loyal to his friends and loyal to the values that he learnt off his parents.’’ 

Catherine added: “Some of you will recall his generosity, his kindness, his toughness, his tenacity. 

“I’ll always remember his dry sense of humour. It would often pop up unexpectedly and his eyes would twinkle with amusement. 

“On one hand he was a man of few words, but those words were precise and perceptive. On the other hand, he could yarn for hours with family and friends.”

Catherine detailed her father’s work ethic, which saw him become a pioneer in the Queenstown tourism industry and a community stalwart, serving on the council, fire brigade, school committee, RSA, the lodge and many other community groups. 

Guy earlier described Boyd’s varied working life, from farm hand to developer and “collector of hotels”. 

And he spoke of Boyd’s commitment to family – his wife of almost 67 years Jean, and their six children. 

Catherine says: “Most of all our father gave us an example of a man whose imperfections provided the colour for his character, while his strengths gave his character its wonderful shape.” 

Hudson Turnbull gave a tribute from the Freemasons’ Lake Lodge of Ophir before Dave Geddes spoke on behalf of the RSA. 

Geddes said Flight Sergeant John McWhirter Boyd served with 75 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force and 269 Squadron Royal Air Force. 

“Jock initially joined the army. He then saw the light and decided to join the air force. It was no ordinary service.” 

Boyd, he said, served as a wireless operator and air gunner on a Wellington Bomber. 

A painting of a Wellington Bomber adorned the altar at his funeral.