When Reg and Win Small marked their 65th wedding anniversary this time last year, the celebrations in Central Southland went on for four days, generations of family and friends from all over returning to their home base in Winton.
They were back last week to farewell Reg who died in his 91st year.
Born in Invercargill on November 3, 1923, Reginald James Small was part of a big family who were energetic, humorous and hard-working and he lived the whole of his life following these precepts.
He left the Marist Brothers school for a delivery job at a Morton St grocery store, then another at a similar store at Tuatapere, pedalling miles on his bike to deliver grocery orders.
He and Win Meffin met as teenagers, fell in love, biked out to Oreti beach at weekends, and were destined to spend the rest of their lives together.
But war intervened.
Reg won his parents' permission to volunteer and at 18 joined the 27th Battalion to serve in Italy and Trieste, broadening his interests, working as a driver for generals Kippenberger and Freyberg, and developing an appreciation for wine and an interest in music.
In 1948 Reg and Win married at St Mary's Basilica in Invercargill and settled in Winton, home for 66 years.
Reg first worked for the Automobile Association, then began spreading lime, using the first steel bins from Docherty Bros, working in business with Lou Stone, Rory Gullick and eventually with Lou Hazlett with whom he set up Perfection drycleaning whose hangers still rattle in many Winton wardrobes.
After that business was sold Reg worked at Otapiri transport and McDowalls, not retiring until he had passed his 73rd birthday.
He has always been at the heart of the community, a life member of the Winton golf club and the RSA bowling club and foundation member of Winton Rotary.
He was meticulous in planning, carrying a notebook with him always, and also his handy pocket knife, which he was shocked to have confiscated on a flight to Australia.
People loved Reg and his wife, a great sociable couple who offered hospitality to all, made and kept friendships.
A man of great faith, he lived out what he believed in, doing good as he went.
Reg is survived by Win and their children Wayne, Wendy, Sharyn and Jan, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- The Southland Times