Quake victim widow’s tribute


The widow of a Christchurch earthquake victim remembered her husband in a fitting tribute in Queenstown skies last Friday. 

Marg Stocker and Shane Stocker – the wife and son of the late Neil Stocker – jumped out of a plane for a 4600-metre skydive to mark what would have been Neil’s 59th birthday the following day. 

Timaru-based Neil, a specialist organ builder, died on his wife’s birthday during the devastating February 22 earthquake while shifting an organ at the Durham Street Methodist Church with workmates and volunteers. 

Marg, who travelled from Timaru to spend time with Queenstown-based Shane, says the pair wanted to celebrate outdoors-loving Neil’s life rather than feeling sad. 

“Neil had done a solo skydive some years ago and we had talked about doing it again later. I thought this was a relevant time,” she says. 

NZONE Skydive shouted Marg a free jump. 

Business development boss Derek Melnick says the company’s honoured Marg and Shane chose to remember Neil with a skydive. 

“It’s a reminder to us all that an event as tragic as the Christchurch earthquakes is as top of mind for many as it was when it first struck.” 

Marg has helped set up a memorial fund in her late husband’s name through the New Zealand Organists’ Association and Neil’s long-time employer, the South Island Organ Company. 

With $22,000 in the fund already, she’s keen for people to contribute so money can go towards supporting future organ builders. 

“Neil’s legacy will live on,” she says.