Stratford stalwart active in community

Stratford lost another of its stalwarts at the end of last year, George Corbett (Corb) Stallard, whose involvement included the War Memorial Hall on Skinner Road and the Pioneer Village.

Corb Stallard's parents Earnest and Fanny emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1925 and two years later, when Corb was four, settled on a farm near Toko.

Corb was the second youngest of seven and eventually took over the farm. During his 61 years in the district, he was very involved within the Skinner Road community, being an active member of Indoor Bowls and Young Farmers, as well as the Pukengahu Golf Club. He also helped build the War Memorial Hall on Skinner Road.

Corb became a member of the Stratford A&P; Association in the 50s and was awarded honorary life membership a few years ago. Corb joined the Toko Lions Club in 1977 and in 2003 received the Lloyd Morgan Honoured Membership Award for 35 years' service.

Corb was proud of his signature beard and participated in the A&P; Show's beard-growing contest on two occasions. At the centennial show in 2009, he was the oldest contestant by a couple of decades. He and his faithful Ford tractor were on call to assist with any job, big or small, at the showgrounds for around 25 years.

After their marriage in 1969, Corb and Billie managed a successful partnership combining the farm and Billie's hairdressing salon, while bringing up three daughters who all pitched in to help run the dairy/beef/sheep unit.

In 1988, they sold the farm and Corb, who had been a hay contractor since he was 17, brought his mower and conventional baler to town and set about becoming a local legend by maintaining his business right up until his sudden passing last month at the age of 89.

The hard working couple never had time to officially retire and their historic home at the northern entrance to Stratford, which Corb had admired as a child, has provided a popular hospitality business, again combined with Billie's salon, as well as a menagerie of farm animals and an extensive garden, which they both tended.

Their shared interests included the Stratford Art Society, Taranaki Lapidary and Mineral Club, and the Taranaki Pioneer Village, of which Corb was a founding member.

The intrepid couple enjoyed numerous overseas trips, usually off the beaten track.

Those spoken to says Corb will be remembered as an honest and highly respected businessman, and a humble and thoroughly likeable gentleman.

- Stratford Press

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