By Emily Norman
Wairarapa will be a quieter place without John Chesmar – the man who had the “most infectious laugh” in Masterton.
He was farewelled by more than 400 people yesterday at The Village Chapel in Kuripuni.
Known for his love of gardening, Morris Minor cars, cycling, speed skating, and running, Mr Chesmar was a man who “always had 500 things on the go”.
He was the husband of Di Chesmar, father of three, and granddad of six.
He died at the age of 65 on September 27.
Graeme Butcher of the Harriers club, who spoke at the service, said Mr Chesmar was a “legend”.
“And do you know how I know that? Because he told me so – several times,” he said.
Mr Chesmar’s son Blair said he felt “blessed to be raised by the best” and thought of his father as “more of a mate” than anything else.
“Dad was elite, a champion, a soldier, and in a category of his own,” he said.
“Dad would never miss a party, as you all would know.
“He’d be the first one there, and the last one to leave.”
Mr Chesmar’s nine siblings reflected on his life, telling childhood stories and sharing more recent memories of their brother.
Though many tears were shed, there was lots of laughter too.
Many of Mr Chesmar’s friends from cycling were dressed in their lycra, and the service officiator Chris Cogdale pointed out upon commencing the service that “all those lumpy bits don’t look too good”.
But the humour and laughter would have been appreciated by Mr Chesmar.
His oldest daughter Robyn said he “always lived life to the full” and that it was “so quiet now- you have left a huge gap”.
His other daughter Sus said Mr Chesmar would always write “LOL” at the end of every text message to her, “because you thought it meant lots of love”.
She wrote a poem for her father which she read out at the service.
As it drew to a close, a guard of honour was formed by the wheels of bikes held up by Wairarapa cyclists.
It was followed by an emotional haka.
Family and friends wrote messages on Mr Chesmar’s coffin which had a Tui sticker on it, reading, “I’ll be right back- yeah right”.