Life comes full circle as Gordon Naylor, former British Intelligence, remembered
Every aspect of Gordon Naylor's life has come full circle.
He was there when the Berlin Wall was built, and when it was torn down. He lost his wife in Hospice North Shore, found a new love there and then died there himself.
The former British Intelligence officer died on August 2 after a life full of action.
Naylor was a duty officer when the Berlin Wall was constructed and he returned there in 1989 with his daughter Hannah Samuel, to tear it down.
"It was a closing of a circle," Samuel said. "He got a couple pieces of the wall because it was close to his heart."
In later life, after moving to New Zealand to be close to family, Naylor delivered talks to groups like Lions and Probus clubs on the topic of the wall.
Another full circle in Naylor's life was his relationship with Hospice.
His wife of 46 years, Angela, died of cancer in the care of North Shore Hospice and Naylor eventually joined a grief group there.
At the grief group, Naylor met Jean. They were both from Yorkshire in the United Kingdom and eventually got together.
Naylor's other daughter Catherine Kelley said when her father went back into hospice a few weeks ago, it was again like coming full circle.
"The hospice was there at the beginning. He found hospice and a reason for living there, then he had another 16 years with Jean."
The family was encouraging people to donate to Hospice in lieu of flowers.
Being from Scarborough in Yorkshire, Naylor celebrated Yorkshire Day on August 1 every year. He had told his daughters he wanted to live till then, Kelley said.
"Come first of August, Dad was extremely ill but he made it," she said.
"I went out and got all the ingredients for yorkshire puddings and made about four dozen.
"He died on the day after Yorkshire Day."
Kelley said her father would be well remembered because of his involvement in many different things. As well as telling clubs about the Berlin Wall, he got involved in helping fundraise for hearing dogs.
He sung in the North Shore Men's Choir for many years and after moving into Knightsbridge Village in Mairangi Bay, he helped start a singing group there. He was a tenor.
Catherine's husband Allister Kelley, officiated the service for Naylor and said the spread of people showed the range of things he'd done with his life.
"Of all of these things he achieved in his life, the thing that spoke to me the most was all these people in the chapters in his life," he said. "It's all about the people he inspired."
Naylor served in the British Intelligence from July 1951 to December 1974. He made his way up the ranks in that time and collected 11 medals over the years. He spoke six languages and eventually left the army to spend time with his young family.
Samuel said Naylor was described at the funeral as a "gentle giant".
"He was proud of his achievements, but he was prouder still of his family."
Gordon Naylor was born on November 13, 1933 in Scarborough, Yorkshire. He died age 83 after a battle with liver cancer.
He's survived by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.