John Compton dies

By Anna Wallis

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When this photo was taken in 2009 John Compton was fire chief, councillor and deputy mayor. He is with former Raetihi police officer Jim Marsh.
When this photo was taken in 2009 John Compton was fire chief, councillor and deputy mayor. He is with former Raetihi police officer Jim Marsh.

The death of John Compton has left a big hole in Raetihi.

Mr Compton died on Sunday at his home "unexpectedly but peacefully" according to the death notice.

Mr Compton's roles in Raetihi were many: fire chief, Rotary, RSA, sports coach and Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board member were just a few. He was a former deputy mayor of Ruapehu, and was deputy mayor of Raetihi borough before that.

Jessie Seaman, who has been in Raetihi since the 1940s, said the community "was all sad.

"We are all upset."

"Anything in the community that needed to be done, he was the first one there, leading.

"He gave his heart."

"We used to fight but I couldn't fault him," she added.

She had known Mr Compton for 30 years.

When asked what Mr Compton did for Raetihi she said: "There's nothing much he didn't do.

"The community will miss him terribly."

"He was in the local body politics, he used to coach the sports teams, especially hockey. Anyone who wanted help he was always there. He had a bit of a bite, but a heart of gold."

Fellow community board member and Fire Service investigator John Hotter said Mr Compton was a "larger than life person."

"His death is going to be a huge loss to both the council and the fire service.

"He had so much knowledge, pearls of wisdom on hand. He know stuff historically that went way back. He could summon up that knowledge and remind us all."

Mike Maru, deputy chief fire officer to Mr Compton's chief, said his death would "leave a big void.

"He was with the fire service for close to 35 years and chief for 14-15. He received the Waimarino Citizens Award in 2009. He was a Justice of the Peace, and in Rotary and the RSA."

Geoff Anderson of Peak FM said Mr Compton had a lot of knowledge especially in local government.

"He had many roles within the community and that knowledge will be missed."

Mr Compton's funeral is on Thursday.

This time last year Mr Compton was in a fight to save the community board.

"If the board is disestablished - as the Ruapehu District Council is proposing - southern Ruapehu people will be robbed of their voice", Mr Compton said at the time.

The community board is still around and he was standing again when he died.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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