Bill Gill helped build province

03:29, Jan 30 2013

Bill Gill was the hard-working and well-respected scion of long-established Marlborough construction company Gill Construction, and was involved in many large projects in the region over many decades.

Mr Gill died on Monday. He was 85.

Son Tony Gill said Bill Gill grew up in Marlborough and began driving trucks at age 15 for the construction company his father, Dick, founded in 1933.

On contract to the Ministry of Works, the Gills were involved in many large construction projects in the region, including building the Molesworth and Port Underwood roads, as well as the Delta Camp, near Renwick, during World War II.

The large roading projects required Mr Gill to be away a lot, and photos showed him and his brothers camped out in the snow during construction of the roads, Tony Gill said.

Bill Gill took over the company in the late 1960s and expanded its operations into freight, and established depots in Kaikoura and Seddon.


He retired at 62 but was never far from the office, and often sat in the background and made sure the bills went out, said Tony Gill, who took over the firm in 1989.

"He spent a lot of his retirement years at our farm at Robin Hood Bay. He would fiddle around there with a digger or bulldozer, getting stuck somewhere."

Mr Gill was a family man, but work was also very important to him, and he inspired loyalty in his staff.

"We have staff members who have been with us for 45 years. You have to be doing something right," Tony Gill said.

Mr Gill's funeral will be held at the Church of the Nativity on Friday at 2pm. He is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The Marlborough Express