Honoured by NZ and US

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014
Noel Dobson
WAR VETERAN: Noel Dobson, 89, died peacefully on December 27.

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Both the New Zealand and United States flags draped Noel Dobson's casket at his funeral.

Mr Dobson had a stroke in September and died on December 27 just days after his 89th birthday.

Born in Devonport, Mr Dobson served in the United States Merchant Marines during World War II.

The two flags were accompanied by a certificate signed by former United States President Harry Truman thanking him for his war service on ships in the Atlantic.

Aside from these mementos little is known about Mr Dobson's time in the war.

His widow Peggy, 87, says apart from the occasional mention of places he'd travelled to during the war he spoke little of it.

What friends and family do know was his penchant for routines, rules and regulations.

After relocating back to New Zealand following the war's end in 1945 he began working on aircraft for Tasman Empire Airways in Mechanics Bay and Whenuapai. He lived in Kumeu for a time before settling in Henderson where he joined the Henderson RSA in 1967.

Mr Dobson became Henderson RSA vice-president for a year in 1994 before becoming president in 1995, serving for three years.

He belonged to the club's welfare committee for 15 years and the Anzac Poppy Day Committee for 12.

In 1998 he received a life membership and the Royal New Zealand RSA merit badge in 2005.

Not long before he died, and from his hospital bed surrounded by friends and relatives, he received a district long service award for services to the association.

Fellow life member Rex Curtis says Mr Dobson was a loyal member who made a significant contribution to the association.

"He was a stickler for protocols and guidelines and made sure we all followed the same procedures," Mr Curtis says.

"I can remember doing major alterations to the club in 1999 and he said ‘we must have penalty clauses in our contract for the builders'. It kept the contractors up to the mark."

Mr Dobson gave credit where credit was due and it wasn't unusual for him to buy dinners for club members and their wives as a reward.

Mr Curtis says you could set your watch to Mr Dobson's daily routine which consisted of a cup of tea and crossword at 8am.

At 3pm every day you could spot him at his favourite table at the RSA which he vacated at 5pm to head home for dinner.

His daughter Patricia Little says her father's love of travel remained with him his entire life, often visiting her at her home in Texas along with other trips to Hawaii, England and Scotland.

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He spoke German and played the piano accordion and when he turned 80 he began to take an interest in computers, she says.

Mr Dobson is survived by Mrs Dobson, Mrs Little, stepson Neil Wade as well as three grandchildren and one great grandchild.

- Western Leader

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