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John Lithgow – RIP

It is very hard to write a Dear John letter, especially for someone you have known for so long
and have nothing but admiration for.

John was certainly a family man, myself and I am sure all club members would like to go out to Liz, Daniel, Kate, and Andrew with our heartfelt condolences. John was extremely proud of all his children and their journeys in life, the apple of his eye was certainly his granddaughter, Indie, as he could not talk about her enough.

My personal first experience with John was about 35 years ago when John and his son Daniel presented at Pedal Pushers asking about our then Sunday rides which predates the present Masters club. Daniel was in his very early teens and I welcomed him into our Sunday rides. At the time they were living out at Opiki and John would drive him into town, so as he had nothing to do we got him to drive our support vehicle for the ride.
Daniel grew quickly in the local cycling community, the Palmerston North Cycling Club, John’s commitment spread to him being on the club committee for many years and a period I recall as club president, but he certainly assisted in running many of the local cycling events.

While living at Opiki, John worked as a farm hand growing potatoes and prior to this he had been for a long period a green keeper at a golf course. Over the years whenever I had a problem with my lawn John was only too willing to give advice. During his time in potato farming to earn extra money to fund his son’s growing obsession with cycling we sold 20kg bags of potatoes in the doorway of the shop for $5 per bag, it went gangbusters and was always plenty of money for Daniels hardware.

Having many family dinners together one night John said it was time to get off the tractor. I said how about becoming a Postie. A week later John approached me if that was a possibility. With my then contact at NZ Post I put John’s name forward and within the month he was Postman-Pat. By now he had shifted into Palmerston North and taken up road cycling. With the evolving masters cycling fraternity became a very committed and well liked member. It is at about this stage that most of you would have met and come to know John. In recent times John has worked with me at Central Storage assisting with upkeep and maintenance being my right hand man. I
personally have so many fond memories of time with John and his family which are too large to share. But over the last days personally all of those memories have flooded back, which I am sure you are all experiencing.

For you riders who were fortunate enough to meet with John and his dog last Sunday, who he absolutely adored and religiously walked every morning and will be missing him dearly, as we all well, will you treasure that moment.

Farewell my good friend, Rest in Peace

Garry Buys

P.S. as a tribute to John and his Dog, I would ask you to watch a movie, which I believe is
available on Netflix “ Hachi” A Dogs Tale by Richard Gere – based on a true story