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A busy life remembered

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

John Chesmar, well known in the Wairarapa cycling and running fraternity, will be remembered as a man who “always had 500 things always on the go”.

He died suddenly at the age of 65 in his workshop in Masterton on Tuesday.

Having competed successfully at the very top levels in road cycling, cross-country, and speed skating, Mr Chesmar had a “dedication and commitment to doing the best he could”, which he applied to all areas of his life.

His wife Di gathered with her family yesterday in Mr Chesmar’s workshop on Villa St- the place where he spent most of his time tinkering away at various projects.

She would have been celebrating their joint birthday with him on Saturday.

“He had the most infectious laugh and had dimples when he smiled,” she said.

“And he always had heaps of stuff on the go. In my mind I just kind of thought that there were not enough years to get everything done that he had wanted to.”

Mr Chesmar’s son Blair, who works in the family business, 0800 Ducting Ltd, said his father was his best friend.

He shed tears with a smile as he recalled a fishing trip out to Ngawi where his father’s brand new catch bag had come undone without him knowing.

“By the time I told him, it was probably a kilometre out to sea,” he said.

“He never heard the end of that one.”

Mr Chesmar’s youngest daughter Sus fondly remembered him as a gardener- “he was always interested in what was happening in my vege garden and offering to help out”.

“He used his engineering skills to create fun things. He made some bikes for us when we were kids, some really cool fun bikes,” she said.

“One had a wheel made out of shoes, and one you had to pedal backwards to go forwards.

“He would hire these bikes out for school galas, we went through the Christmas Parade with them, people loved them.”

His oldest daughter Robyn recalled his giving nature- “he would always help people out with anything, and just had so much time for everyone, especially his grandchildren”.

Mr Chesmar’s other love was Morris Minor cars.

He won the 2015 People’s Choice award at the British Car Day in Wellington with his hand-painted Morris Minor, bedecked with stars, a Rolling Stone style lips motif, a Union Jack on its roof and some psychedelic swirls.

He was regularly seen driving it around Masterton, turning heads.

His “farewell” will be held at 11am next Tuesday at the Village Chapel in Kuripuni, cnr Waltons Ave and High St.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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