Club Waimea life member Bob Oldham has sadly passed away.

Club Waimea life member passes away

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Another one Club Waimea’s originals passed away last month after years of dedicated service as finance convenor, vice president, president and part-time electrician of the club.

John Robert Royds Oldham (Bob), who was born in Nelson on February 21, 1933 and passed away on April 12 this year, was a member of the foundation committee of the Waimea Town and Country Club when it was formed in 1974.

Bob subsequently held a number of administrative positions in the club, which later became Club Waimea, and his dedication was recognise when he was made a life member.

Bob is the second of the club’s Life Members to pass away in the last six months after Ross Barnes died in November.

A qualified electrician, Bob’s services went well beyond the committee meetings room.

He contributed hundreds of voluntary hours helping establish the club facilities, particularly the later additions of the all-purpose hall, squash courts and snooker room.

Bob was also the club’s electrician, generally providing his services for free, for over 20 years.

He had a reputation as a perfectionist and refused to cut corners or take the easy option, always producing the highest quality work.

Bob’s generosity did not stop with Club Waimea, as he also gave many free hours to the Waimea Old Boys Rugby Club.

He was still maintaining the floodlights at Jubilee Park using a cherry-picker to reach the light bulbs when he was well into his 80s.

A passionate rugby player and fan, Bob played hooker for Nelson College, Hororata and Waimea Old Boys.

When he retired from the game, he became an ardent fan attending numerous All Black test matches, both in New Zealand and overseas.

He had rugby tours to South Africa (1986),  the Rugby World Cup in the UK and France (1991) and Hong Kong sevens (1993).

Bob and his wife Nola were also regulars at the Wellington Sevens and in later years, at Tasman Makos and Waimea Old Boys matches.

Bob also had a reputation as a practical joker with his most memorable prank involving an ingenious piece of electronics for a talking toilet seat that emitted strange voices when it was sat upon.

He was also responsible for a number of For Sale signs that mysteriously appeared outside the homes of unsuspecting friends and spotlights or sirens that startled bewildered victims.

Bob was also a dedicated family man and highly skilled electrician. He married Nola Blair in 1962 and subsequently had three sons Wayne (born in 1964), Graeme (1966) and Nigel (1971).

He was raised in Tui near Tapawera, attended Tapawera School, Tapawera District High School and Nelson College.

Bob completed apprenticeship with New Zealand Electricity Department in Nelson and qualified as an electrician in 1955.

He worked at a number of hydro-stations around the country before taking a position as station operator at Waipapa Power Station on the banks of the Waikato River.

A good friend of Bob’s, Colin Bowden, says it was a testimony to Bob’s modesty that he insisted that there shouldn’t be a public funeral to mark his passing.

Instead, Bob’s life was celebrated by about 100 friends and family during a gathering at the Waimea Old Boys Clubrooms late last month.

Bob is survived by his wife Nola, three sons and three grandchildren.