The death of 85-year-old Ken McGifford has ended the era of a popular former businessman nick-named the "Mayor" of Aramoho.
Kenneth (Ken) King McGifford helped revitalize the Aramoho Shopping Centre during his 24 years as owner of the Aramoho Book Shop, now called Aramoho Magazines and Lotto.
The McGifford's, Ken and wife Moira, purchased the book shop from the late Doug Bridges in June 1973 and gradually built up the trade by becoming the only stockists of Catholic supplies in the city after the closure of Jerry Repton's Victoria Avenue Tudor Court shop, gaining the Wanganui Herald and Chronicle Aramoho suburban agencies (which included supplying runner boys), becoming a post office branch and in 1986 becoming the first suburban Lotto outlet in the city.
In addition the range of newspapers, magazines, calendars, gifts and souvenirs was vastly increased which made the business a real hub in the shopping centre which included a dairy, fruit shop, butcher, Chainey's cycle, radio-tv and whiteware branch and a medical centre.
Ken McGifford was to the fore in 1981 when the Aramoho Shopping Centre was revitalized on July 10th.
He was born at his parent's home, 34 Alma Road, on November 7, 1933, as a prem-baby. The junior doctor said he would not survive but he lived for 85 years. His family ran the Guyton St Dairy (the building still stands). His early schooling included St.Peter's kindergarten, Hurworth School and Gonville School.
He started work for Levin and Co. and then joined Farmers' Co-op which included five months at Ohura in 1972 and then a brief stint at the Hawera head office.
But he had always had owning a book shop in the back of his mind and along with his wife they purchased the Aramoho business which they operated very successfully as a friendly family venture until 1996.
Being an avid Kaierau Rugby Club member since 1949 it was only natural that Ken and his family built a new home just around the corner from the club's Devon Road complex but he never forgot his ties with Aramoho where he spent thousands of hours chatting with customers and friends.
His wife of 51 years says his three main loves were family, his faith and the Kaierau club but he never tried to influence anyone about his religion.
The McGiffords were regular meals on wheels helpers, Ken attended many functions including funerals, and the husband and wife walked down to the Springvale Road five-road junction store each day to collect their newspaper talk to neighbours and friends, gain some exercise and check on homes and sections all on the daily schedule.
Taking into consideration his 23-year contribution to the Aramoho Shopping Centre and remarkable 69-year service to the multi-sport Kaierau Country Club the death of Ken McGifford could almost be classed as the end of double icon era.
Ken McGifford is survived by his wife Moira and children Tanya, Janet, Douglas and Suz plus five grand-children.- J B PHILLIPS