Farewell to Queenstown stalwart
A heartfelt service for one of the Wakatipu's favourite sons was held yesterday in Queenstown.
Brian Robertson, known as "Baldy", was farewelled at St Joseph's Parish Church. A guard of honour formed outside as his casket was laid in a hearse for a cortege through Queenstown led by four New Zealand Fire Service engines.
Mr Robertson died on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was born and raised in Queenstown, his great-grandfather was a captain of the TSS Earnslaw, a great-great-grandfather was the first mayor, and his father served as clerk of the borough.
The crowd of mourners was too large for the church to accommodate and traffic was stopped while the cortege was led through town, past Queenstown Fire Station.
Son Paul Robertson told the congregation that his father loved weekends away with mates and had an easy smile.
He was friendly, always positive and never angry except when Wakatipu's rugby team lost.
"Dad loved talking to people and loved his mates and a good yarn. He's a character who will be sorely missed from Queenstown.
"Everyone in this room has done something for the family. Special thanks to my mum. Watching mum care for dad was a privileged experience for myself and my sister. We've witnessed selfless love."
His father, who was 66, started out as a builder before working in the building department of Queenstown Lakes District Council, where he served for more than 30 years.
He spent 33 years in the Queenstown fire brigade in the fire police unit and as a station officer.
A scheduled monthly council meeting was postponed to allow staff to attend the service.
One of the speakers said the occasion was "not a goodbye, it's a ‘see ya later mate'."
Mr Robertson is survived by wife Dianne, daughter Kerri-Lee, son Paul and their families.
The Southland Times