Obituary: George Monteith

By Arnold Pickmere

By ARNOLD PICKMERE

Churchman. Died aged 99.

George Monteith served the Anglican faith for 75 years.

He had a long association with Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral project in Parnell, joining the cathedral committee in 1941.

"Monty" Monteith, as he was known, was also Dean of Auckland from 1949 to 1969, Vicar-General from 1963 to 1976 and Assistant Bishop of Auckland from 1965 to 1976.

Although Dean John Rymer, who died in April, had great influence in getting the more modern nave part of the Holy Trinity built, Monteith was a strong influence in getting the original Gothic style planned for the nave stopped.

It was part of the struggle to complete Holy Trinity in two contrasting designs and move the Cathedral Church of St Mary across Parnell Rd. Monteith, who had been ordained in St Mary's, encouraged this idea.

Monteith had many duties beyond his cathedral building. They included the service he arranged at St Mary's in late 1953 attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

The Holy Trinity website describes George Monteith as a "most treasured" member of the cathedral community. He is praised as an excellent raconteur and a man noted "for comments made at his own expense concerning his lack of height". But his charm was underpinned by a steely resolve and intense practicality.

Born at Mangatainoka, near Woodville, in 1904 he attended Napier Boys' High School.

In 1924 he went to St John's Theological College in Auckland and gained a BA at the then Auckland University College. He was a curate at St Matthews Church in Auckland and acting-vicar at Hauraki Plains, where he met Kathleen Methven Mules. In England he accepted a curacy at Stoke-on-Trent. On learning that they wanted a married priest, he sent for Kathleen and they married in 1931.

He was vicar at Dargaville, then St Barnabas, Mt Eden, before becoming vicar of Parnell at St Mary's, in 1949.

Monteith married his second wife, Hilary Etherington, in 1982, some 13 years after the death of Kathleen. He is survived by Hilary, son David, daughter Margaret, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A service will be held at Holy Trinity on Tuesday at 2pm.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 19 Apr 2014 18:00:10 Processing Time: 929ms