By PHILIP CHANDLER
It’s an indelible memory.
Somehow I was on the dance floor at a Queenstown Memorial Centre function when my glasses fell down.
‘‘Stop’’, I think I shouted to everyone in hearing.
Next thing, there’s Sir Eion Edgar on his knees, rescuing Scoop’s glasses.
It was just another example of the kindness of the man, whose death this week so devastated so many here and elsewhere.
We’re lucky he and Jan moved here in 2014 — he said after ending his long stint on the Otago University council, culminating in four years as chancellor, he wanted to leave Dunedin to give his successor space.
Aside from helping the construction industry by building a massive Kelvin Heights house, he made arguably the biggest contribution anyone’s made to Queenstown since founder William Rees.
Take Queenstown Resort College and the thousands of students it’s putting through.
And who can forget the homilies he gave out at every graduation, like ‘brush your teeth’ and ‘consider how anything you do would look on the front page next day’.
Then there’s Winter Games, which rapidly grew to be one of the world’s largest snowsports events.
And how about his contribution to Queenstown’s amazing trail network?
There’s all the help he gave to local causes — he once told me he had a garage full of unwanted items he’d bought at charity auctions.
Through his network of 700-plus email ‘friends’ he’d suggest who we should vote for — sorry, Eion, Phil Wilson lost — or encourage everyone to follow his example and step out for diabetes.
Last year I recall scoffing some of his wine while he advised John Cushen on how he could sell more of his kids’ books to raise money for Cure Kids.
He always had time for you, and mentored so many people.
I saw him at so many functions I’d kid him we should run a tally each year to find out who attended more — you’d have won, Eion.
After that cruel cancer diagnosis late last year, no one could believe how positive he remained, right to the end.
He’d always joke that the virus had chosen the wrong person.
Two amazing functions were organised in his honour, at which Jan was also fittingly saluted.
After the first, at which speakers hailed his incredible contributions to business and the community including the fields of sport, arts, youth and health, I overheard him quipping, ‘‘well, we won’t need a funeral now’’.
Sir Eion always said he made it his business to ensure everyone owed him a favour.
If his example can inspire us to contribute more to this place and the wider community, we can start repaying that favour.
● Sir Eion’s funeral’s being held next Saturday, June 26, at the Queenstown Events Centre at 2.30pm; in lieu of flowers, his family’s asked for people to donate to the Queenstown Trails Trust.