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John (Jock) Dean Caroli Laing (5863), aged 84

18 Sep 2020

Jock came to College from Medbury School, and enjoyed happy school days at Christ’s College. He was very proud of winning the Choir Boys’ handicap race – and very put out the following year when he was at the back of the pack!

He left school with the ambition of being an architect and studied at the School of Architecture and Planning in Auckland where he made lifelong friends. Leaving architecture, he spent years in publishing before his passion for the environment led him into the field of solar heating. He and a friend formed the company Energy Developments Ltd, which specialised in the solar heating of swimming pools. Arranging quotes for clients meant that he had to clamber over roofs measuring up for the absorber. He was once challenged by a client who, noting his hesitation before straddling the space between the eaves, said “My husband can do it.” Once Jock was safely down she added, “My husband is in the SIS.”

His home in Herne Bay was decorated with the paintings of young, promising artists; his hospitality to friends and family was legendary; he had wide interests and over the years collected what a niece described as “floor to ceiling books and treasures.”

He had a passion for older cars. As a boy, Jock could identify the make solely by the noise of its engine. When driving around Auckland in his old Peugeot, he would deliberately speed up over the speed bumps to demonstrate the smoothness of the ride, while remarking “they don’t make then them like that any more.”

Jock was gentle, erudite and witty. His company was a delight, and conversations roamed around his many interests. Overseas travel added greatly to his experience of life. Tributes at his funeral came from nieces and other young people who found in him a very understanding mentor.

The last 25 years of his very full life were further enriched for him by the companionship of his partner Carolyn.

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