One of the Wakatipu’s most-loved and longest-living locals, Herb Sheehy, died this week aged 90.
He leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Margaret, nine children, 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Herb was a farm worker in Glenorchy when he met Margaret, who’d come to teach the late Reta and Thommy Thomson’s three children while training to become a school teacher.
He later mined scheelite at the head of the lake before moving to Queenstown where he and a cousin owned Wakatipu Transport.
For 39 years he and Margaret lived beside the Queenstown Recreation Ground, where they were handily placed to follow their children’s rugby- and cricket-playing exploits.
Herb was also across the road from the fire station, where he served for 27 years as a volunteer, earning a Gold Star and honorary life membership.
He and Margaret set a record by attending at least 55 consecutive fire brigade annual dinners.
Queenstown friend Phil Wilson says the fire siren used to go off at night, but on one occasion someone forgot to turn it off and Herb counted it going off 80 times.
“That was the last straw for him, and I think after that they just used pagers overnight.”
Wilson says everyone in town knew Herb back in the day.
“Another story he told me was his door would always be open, as most people did in those days, but he’d often get drunks coming in and they’d just crash on the couch.”
Wilson, who’s the Wakatipu Rugby Club president, says it was a special privilege showing Herb the White Horse Cup while the Premiers briefly held it last month.
Herb’s funeral will be held at 1pm tomorrow at Queenstown’s St Joseph’s Church, where he was a regular worshipper.