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Remembering a good man

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Featherston lost one of its greatest defenders with the death of Ron Hughes last week.

Mr Hughes’s heart well and truly belonged to the South Wairarapa town and his favourite colours were the blue and black worn by the town’s rugby teams.

Much has been written over many years of Ron’s huge input into the life of Featherston and in a broader sporting sense the entire Wairarapa, especially with rugby and athletics.

But there was much more to Ron than sport.

I had the privilege of working for him in my life before journalism as a member of the staff of New Zealand Farmers Co-operative Distributing Company, a Feilding based stock and station firm with branches in both Masterton and Featherston.

He was a fine man to work for, very fair minded and with a sense of humour that was all his own.

At a guess I would say there would not have been a farmer in the entire South Wairarapa who had not been visited by Ron during the time he managed the Featherston branch and it is likely most would have seen him on a regular basis.

He was extremely hard working, although I must concede he worked in somewhat mysterious ways at times, but his way of doing things got good results for the firm and for his staff.

Ron led by example and for that reason he won the trust and loyalty of those who worked for him.

In a later life he became a real estate salesman and although I had no dealings with him in that regard I would from time-to-time catch up with him, sometimes in the South Wairarapa Workingmen’s Club or at the Tauherenikau races.

The talk would invariably turn to rugby and occasionally I would deliberately tease Ron by daring to mention the sister code, which I knew full well was not one of his passions.

I came as no surprise to me to learn Ron, knowing he was getting into the twilight years, gave Toots Boswell instructions to commandeer a blue and flag from a sports clubroom for his coffin when the time to go arrived.

It will hold pride of place for Ron in the afterlife. R.I.P. Ronald Harold Hughes.

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