Ex-Queenstown couple die in quake

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The original builder of Queenstown’s Rydges Lakeland Resort and his wife were among victims claimed by the Christchurch earthquake.

Earl and Beverley Stick – who lived in Queenstown in the ’60s and ’70s – were on a bus hit by collapsing buildings in the February 22 quake.

They were travelling to the CBD for Earl’s cancer treatment.

Their bodies were only identified late last week.

Invercargill-born Earl, 78, built the former Trans Hotel, now Rydges Lakeland, on the site of the burnt-out Foster’s Hotel on Lake Esplanade, and was a director of Trans Holdings.

“That was the first big building in Queenstown,” local businessman John Davies says.

“It was a design that’s never been done since – they poured all the floors around big columns, then they jacked all the floors up, one after another.

“It was a different era – all the tourists came by buses.”

Earl also built and opened Earnslaw Lodge Motel on Frankton Road.

He started the town’s longest-running glazing business, Lakeland Glass, in 1977, taking on long-time local Dave Ness as his glazier and partner.

“He was a gentleman, all the dealings I had with him were straight-up,” Ness remembers.

Daughter Raemon Greenwood recalls growing up in Hay Street.

She and brother Nicholas attended the local school “which is now the parking lot opposite the old library building”.

“[Earl] was in the volunteer fire brigade, people’s warden at the Anglican Church and mum used to teach Sunday School there.

“We were part of the local community, it was wonderful.

“It was an incredible childhood.”

The family shifted to Christchurch in the late ’70s.

Greenwood told The New Zealand Herald that Earl and Beverley, 72, who’d been married 51 years, were “incredibly independent” and had travelled around the world.

“I’m going to miss them horrifically.”

Their funeral will be held next Wednesday.