By PHILIP CHANDLER
Family of Queenstown doctor Michael Stephens, who died last August, aged 83, are inviting friends to reminisce about him at the Pig & Whistle Pub this coming Thursday.
After practising in Melbourne for 23 years, Michael and his late wife, Beryl, settled in Queenstown in 1991 after falling in love with the resort while on holiday.
After briefly practising at Queenstown Medical Centre, he set up Mountain Lake Medical Centre, which he ran for 20 years till selling to the current owner, Dr Bruce McKinnon, in
He mostly boated to work from his Kelvin Heights home and then, after closing his surgery, about 2.30pm, he’d pop to the Pig & Whistle for a couple of pints.
Raised in Wellington, he was an outstanding runner in his youth, setting many middle distance records at Hutt Valley High.
It’s thought he even beat the late, great Sir Peter Snell, in one race, and held an under-18 world record, on grass, over 880 yards.
He gave up running early, however, to study medicine at Otago University.
His son, Michael Stephens Junior, says he ‘‘loved life and he was so interested in everything’’.
‘‘He was so well read, he’d finish a book over a couple of days.’’
His dad was ‘‘always very kind’’, though he could come across as a bit gruff, and certainly wasn’t ‘PC’.
He named his boat SAGDITTO, which stood for ‘sod all government departments including the taxation office’.
At some cost to him, he co-developed a Frankton marina in the mid-’90s which broke apart during high winds.
Married four times, he was particularly devoted to his last wife, Beryl, a keen golfer, and
was grief-stricken after she died in 2012.
His son says he also suffered a lot of back pain, after having gone over a bow wave in his boat, about 20 years ago, crushing the discs in his back, ‘‘but he never complained about it, he just got on with it’’.
Memorial drinks for Michael will run at the Pig on Thursday from 4 till 7pm.