'A true gentleman'
The death of the last mayor of Mt Eden marks the end of an era, those who knew him say.
Gordon Johns was mayor of Mt Eden Borough from 1986 until 1989 when it was amalgamated into Auckland City Council.
He was later the president of the Mt Eden Business Association, volunteered tirelessly for St Barnabas Church, the Mt Eden Hall and Senior Citizens Club and the Diabetes Association. Until last year he was the organiser of Mt Eden's Anzac Day services.
The 84-year-old died on January 16 at Middlemore hospital after a heart attack.
Mr Johns had a "great sense of community" and "couldn't abide foolishness" Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward councillor Christine Fletcher says "Gordon's passing marks the end of a special era," she says.
In 2008 St Barnabas church was asked by the Auckland City Council to take down a road sign advertising Christmas trees it was selling as a fundraiser.
The church was threatened with a $20,000 fine if it didn't comply.
Mr Johns was a parishioner and got on the case. Within 24 hours the issue had been sorted.
Mr Johns was born on November 2, 1929 and grew up in Mt Eden and Eden Tce.
He met his future wife of 60 years, Beverly, when they were students at Kowhai Intermediate School.
He owned Crystal Motors, originally on Mt Eden Rd, from 1968 until the 2000s.
His entry to local politics came in the late 1970s.
"When we were young, anything we were involved in he got involved in: school committees, athletics clubs, Sunday school," his daughter Ruth Fullerton says.
"He was always fighting for the underdog. He was a real gentleman," she says.
The amalgamation of the Mt Eden Borough into Auckland City was one of the biggest fights of his political career.
"He resisted the change and used to fear what would happen to the local area."
The current direction of local politics was a concern for him, she says.
Mr Johns moved to Pakuranga to be closer to his family after his wife died in 2010.
There he had time to pursue his love of cars.
Mr Johns' devotion to the community was without peer, Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes says.
"The mark of the man for me was when he greeted my then one-year old son last year and shook his hand. He was the first person to do so - a true gentleman."