By Funeral-Link New Zealand | Posted: Tuesday August 18, 2015
As many of the estimated 500 people who turned out for Art Deco champion Robert McGregor's funeral in Napier yesterday remarked, it was "all very fitting".
Three vintage cars were lined up outside the foyer of the appropriately styled Napier Municipal Theatre while the Twin City Stompers delivered jaunty music from the deco era - and some smart and distinctive fashion was in evidence.
The Funeral-link Hawkes Bay funeral directors and celebrant, the Reverend Graeme Pilgrim, were also dressed with an Art Deco touch and the hearse was a 1938 Plymouth.
Mr McGregor would have approved - although, knowing him, it would have likely been in a slightly grumpy manner.
Those who paid tribute to him all produced charming and colourful stories - especially about the bristling manner at times which was seen as an appealing hallmark of a man former Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott, a long-time friend, described as "talented, articulate and driven".
Driven to the point where his passion for retaining and restoring Napier's Art Deco landscape would see him writing a string of letters and submissions through the years to the Napier City Council.
"He called them 'pesky' letters," Art Deco Trust general manager Sally Jackson said. "And if it were not for your grumpy determination, we would not be in this stunning building in this stunning city."
Mrs Jackson said Mr McGregor had a remarkable focus on what he wanted to see for the city he loved. "He had the vision - he led us there," she said.
"And we will ensure we will continue your hard work." Mrs Arnott drew laughter when she said: "He had the ability to brass off people who already agreed with him."
She described him as a fine writer of "elegant prose and rough one-liners".
His brother, Euan, described how the trauma of the 1931 earthquake had a huge effect on their parents, and the memories they shared of it, along with how having noted architect Louis Hay as a neighbour had rubbed off on Robert's love of style .
Euan McGregor told of how he was born in 1945 and Robert in 1940 - "so there was a war between us". But they never warred themselves. "Never had a cross word," he said.
Concluding his address, he brought out his Art Deco hat and put it on - then took it off, saying: "I doff my hat to my brother and what he has done for this city."
Article from Hawkes Bay Today - Dunstall's Funeral Services