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Visionary mayor dies

Former Masterton Mayor Frank Cody wears his mayoral chain. PHOTO/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE

JOHN FRANCIS [FRANK] Cody 05/05/1922-12/03/2021

Astute and good leader remembered

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

Former Masterton Mayor Frank John Francis Cody has died at the age of 98.

The father of five died on March 12 at Kandahar Village.

His family was “very grateful for the loving care provided to Frank by the staff of Kandahar”.

Cody was elected mayor of Masterton in 1974, with more than twice as many votes as his nearest rival.

His term ended in 1986.

Born in Wellington, Cody came to Masterton in 1935.

He studied at Wairarapa High School, where he met his future wife, the late Ruth Cody.

The couple were married in 1946.

He had earlier served as a flying instructor for the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II.

In 1947, Cody began his practice as a chartered accountant in Masterton.

He was elected as a borough councillor in 1968.

Cody was chairman of the Masterton County Council joint planning committee and the borough’s town planning committee.

He was involved with Homeleigh Children’s Home and the Wairarapa Marriage Guidance Council, among others.

In 1986, Cody became one of four men on the board of the new Wairarapa Times-Age company.

He was appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for public service in 1985.

At the time, he was reported to have said, “If there’s been achievement worth recognition it’s simply recognition of the town and the region”.

His interests included gardening, boating, and fishing.

Bob Francis was a councillor under Cody for two terms and superseded him as mayor after the latter stepped down from the council.

“I suppose in many ways I did a six-year apprenticeship with him,” Francis said.

“He was a very good mayor and was responsible for progressing some really important infrastructure in the town.

“He had a really good vision of what was required during those times.”

Cody led the council through major infrastructure projects, including upgrades to the town hall, library, and water treatment plant.

As a mayor, he exhibited “quite firm leadership” and brought economic expertise from his days as an accountant, Francis said.

“He was a very astute guy. He did bring to the table that financial wisdom.

“His meetings were always well managed and chaired, everything was very tidy.

“He had a very good relationship with his general managers.”

Cody remained engaged with the district’s happenings up until a few years ago, Francis said.

He was instrumental in the 2018 name change of Remutaka Pass, formerly known as Rimutaka, a word with no meaning in te reo Maori.

“He will be remembered as a very good leader,” Francis said, “He was an excellent mayor.”

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Frank Cody would be held at Crossway Church on Monday, March 22, at 2pm.

Donations to Enliven Presbyterian Support were requested in lieu of flowers.

These could be made directly at Kandahar Village in Lansdowne or by visiting www.enliven.org.nz/donate and using ‘Frank Cody’ as the reference.

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