Pat Fouhy, QSM, a real Kiwi country gent
Daniel Patrick (Pat) Fouhy, QSM and retired Justice of the Peace: b in Mangatainoka, January 15, 1920: d in Marima (Pahiatua) July 24 2017, aged 97.
Obituary: Pat Fouhy was the epitome of the New Zealand country gent – an innovator, a loving family man committed to his community and a dedicated public servant.
He had a deep belief that everybody had a duty to contribute to their community and further mankind.
Fouhy dedicated almost four decades to serving in local government. He built a successful contracting business at 18 years old and was a commercial farmer for 60 years. Always at the forefront of new farming technologies, he was one of the first to introduce scientific cattle breeding based on genetic testing to New Zealand and was still tinkering and inventing in his garage in his 90s.
He spent 50 years serving in many community organisations, but his most recognised contribution was his long service on the Pahiatua County Council.
He was one of the youngest councillors to ever be elected, at 34 years old, and served for 36 years. He was the council's deputy chairman for many of those and its chairman for 15 years.
During this time, Fouhy was also elected vice-chairman of the New Zealand Counties Association, chairman of the Manawatu United Council and served on the National Roads Board, as well as the Manawatu Licensing Committee.
His dedication was recognised with a Queen's Service Medal for public service in the 1993 New Year's Honours List and a Queen's Service Jubilee medal in 2002.
Fouhy first struck out on his own in 1938. Most of the land around Marima was covered in stumps at the time, after being freshly cleared of heavy bush.
The 18-year-old Fouhy saw an opportunity to start up a contracting business and began ploughing some of the first farmland in Marima. The business grew quickly and family friend Joe Mahar joined him as a business partner.
They soon earned a name for themselves as hard-working contractors who did everything from carting wool to earth moving and road building.
Over the years, Fouhy became friendly with Mahar's sister-in-law Marie and married her in 1945. In the 1950s, he bought the Mirama farm he would pass away at.
He helped found the Waigroup Angus Group in the late 1960s and was one of the first Kiwi cattle breeders to employ a geneticist to design a scientific breeding programme.
"Dad was an ideas man, always with another project on the go.... [and] he never really retired because he loved life and living so much," Joe Fouhy said.
One of Fouhy's last projects was his "scrapermobile", a purpose-built machine for cleaning cow yards designed to reduce the vast quantities of water used every day by dairy farmers.
The scrapermobile was a three-wheeled, manoeuvrable ride-on vehicle, about the size of a mobility scooter, with a hydraulic blade on front for scraping the yard clean.
He spent most of winter 2013, at 93 years old, in his garage building the prototype. Like most of his projects, Fouhy had given himself a tight deadline by entering the scraper into the Mystery Creek Field Days farm innovation awards.
The machine needed to be in Hamilton on Tuesday by 3pm, the day before Field Days kicked off, and Fouhy was still building it at Manawatu Hydraulics in Palmerston North on Monday. He managed to pull it together that night and it was off to Hamilton the next morning.
Joe Fouhy said his father's impact will last well into the future thanks to all the lives he had influenced in his 97 years.
Tributes flooded in from around the country from people who couldn't attend the funeral. The spoke of how he helped them, or changed their life.
Albert Judd, recalled how Fouhy's kindness in supplying firewood, food and transport, helped the Judd family survive the Great Depression.
"Dad has left behind a huge legacy. The values shown in the way he lived and the example he has set will live on in his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren," Joe Fouhy said.
Fouhy's funeral service was at St Brigid's Church in Pahiatua, where a rosary was recited, before he was interred at Mangatainoka Cemetery.
In keeping with his philosophy, mourners were asked to give donations to Arohanui Hospice, instead of bringing flowers.
He is survived by his sister Helena, daughter Mary McIntyre, sons Steve and Joe, nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.