Auckland businessman Tim Bailey learned last month that he would be made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, but had just a week to enjoy the news.

Mr Bailey, honoured for his services to the motor industry and the community, died on May 17 after having been ill for some time. He was 62.

His widow, Anne-Marie Bailey, said he was "absolutely delighted" when informed of his inclusion in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

"It came out of the blue," she said. "He was actually in bed here at home and he was very proud."

Mrs Bailey said the reaction within the family was also one of pride, but mixed with sadness that her husband would not be receiving the appointment personally.

She described the accolade as the culmination of a lifetime's work in an industry that was sometimes not thought of highly.

"As he said, people in the motor trade don't get recognised often."

Mr Bailey was born in Hampshire, England.

He moved to New Zealand at 18 and from small beginnings built up Continental Car Services (CCS), which he started in 1967 and turned into a major dealership.

He sold CCS to the Asian Sime Darby Group in 1998, but remained its chairman until his death.

Outside the motor trade, he had an interest in art and design, and sponsored a student design prize at Auckland University.

He also had a long-time involvement in yachting, acting as mentor and coach to young sailors.

In 1988 one of his yachts, Propaganda, with Richard Dodson as skipper, won the One Ton Cup off San Francisco.

- NZPA

Herald Feature: Honoured New Zealanders