A former Shotover Jet driver and “ultimate hard case” who died last Thursday has been fondly remembered by friends and colleagues.
Phil Ball, 55, who worked for the pioneering Queenstown jet-boat company in the 1980s before setting up its subsidiary Huka Jet in Taupo in 1990, died in the North Island town after a long illness.
Queenstown mayor and former Shotover Jet owner, Jim Boult, says Queenstown had lost one of its favourite sons.
“It would be fair to say he was a larger-than-life individual – known by everyone as simply the ultimate hard case.
“When you went out with him you laughed until the tears flowed down your face – he loved life.”
Boult says Ball’s stint at Huka Jet was followed by a move to Fiji to head a Shotover Jet operation there. After various tourism-related roles in the North Island, Ball recently returned to work for Huka Jet, he says.
He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier this year.
Former Shotover Jet manager Clark Scott says his old friend was “always smiling, always radiant – one of life’s great characters”.
Former workmate Steve Lindsay described Ball as “intensely charismatic” with a talent for getting on with people of all ages and ethnicities.
Ball is survived by his mother, Diana, of Queenstown, and his partner, Paula Perriam.
Otago Daily Times