John Leo(pold) Hannah - In Memoriam 


  Thursday, 15 December 2011

John Dean’s Eulogy for John Leo(pold) Hannah
I am very proud to have been asked by Henrietta, who I have known for some 46 years, to give you some thoughts about my times and life with my great friend John - Leopold to me - Hannah, who I have known for only about 41 years.
It is a rare privilege for me to able to bowl the last over of the day when on any other day the rain would have kept us in the pavilion. To me this is Leopold’s Last Stand. If you hang on to the bat for long enough you were called a Leopold. 551,880 thousand hours of life compressed into as long as it takes to bowl the last over.
Ironically I have had number of calls from those who have not been able to land in Nelson this morning because of the rain still pouring down. Of course Jock was great planner. He would have come over the night before. That’s what he was like.
He would have said to me “this weather is a tad disappointing”. Often things were a tad disappointing, but only momentarily. And when the Gods are crying on behalf of Jock, it’s only momentarily.
Like a good vintage Tyrell’s wine, the Very Reverend Charles Tyrell’s name sake, I will try to remember to be slow – that’s how Jock bowled mostly in his latter years…. …..
Why was he called Jock? It stems I believe from those whisky tinged Glen Morangie coloured student days in Dunedin – “Drink your whisky Jock!”
I’m not allowed tell you about the sheep inside Selwyn College at Otago University and other stories……
You have heard from Rachael and Fiona and Richard - my godson – I could hear his father saying “take your hands out of your pockets boy” - about the important things in life- the family, and how Hetta met Jock
And from his mates - the recreation he enjoyed: man alone with mates in the solitude of the mountains and tarns.
And from his work: the quiet achiever and leader that we know Jock was
And then there is most important part of all - how you lead your life;
and that is how you play cricket and understand the game. A way of life….
So it falls to me to tell you about the most important part of a life well lived. About a tuneless bloke who found music in the lady he loved
about some of Jock’s early days in Wellington
How a boy who shared a bedroom with his younger brother in their formative years, worked hard as lad in school and university, and honed his back yard sporting skills by trying to beat brothers and sister at all the usual backyard games – honed them into being a useful squash player, tennis man, cricket and golf. And not bad at chess as well.
A great left handed bat in his early days, and who developed into a very useful opening and then latterly change bowler. A quiet student of all sports; and an excellent fisherman.
Then I need to tell you about his leading cup-a-soup in the early 1970’s, when he worked at Unilever, to where it was some years ago….
Our flat members tested every flavour - breakfast lunch and dinner. That’s why it became a market leader. Like the young marketing man who worked on it.
Some of us are old enough to remember Mad Magazine – Alfred E Neumann. Look at the service sheet cover- L & G I give you the Alfred E Neuman of the Upper South Island. What me Worry - Its satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures was what Jock quietly emulated; whilst learning to promote a good cup of coffee to all who would listen to him.
Then came an interest in shares. I take some credit for that…about 1972 or so. .
A tip in the Dalmuir House lift –was it some oil coy? – Jock bought some and they plummeted soon after. He learned to pick them a bit better after that! He still asks me when will he get those $$ back!! He revelled in pouring over the share columns of every paper. He revelled in a share club.
So as I wheel and turn to toss up the third ball of this over I need to tell you about Jock’s love of the game. Over the many years I have known Jock - his reading of any game of cricket whether he was watching it or playing in it was very astute. I know he and Donald spent hours on the finer points of the game. I will miss his texts and calls when we discussed with each other how our local and international teams could have done it better.
I will miss the 5 day test Jock and I spent in Brisbane a few years ago. Talking to the Poms along the riverbank. Coffee on the way to the Gabba. Coffee at the Gabba, a beer or two and coffee and a wine on the way home each day. The ebb and flow of the game so enjoyed. All with that squash bag which doubled as his cricket bag.
This reflected his view on people. You play cricket how you live your life. The shame of it is these days that there are not enough of us who understand the nuances of the game and who can live their lives accordingly.
Jock and I returned to cricket in the last 15 years or so through Rotary. IFCR is the best fellowship in Rotary. We have been on numerous tours to many countries. Played on test grounds we dreamed about playing on when we listened 50 years earlier on our transistor radios. Our playing skills seemed to be better than they were when we played for VUW in he 70’s. 
What wonderful friends we have made in so many places. And we ate mussels everywhere we went. What wonderful experiences we have enjoyed. And still were to enjoy - with Jock having taken over the Hon Secs role from yours truly, and so ably assisted and prodded by Hetta his computer skills have blossomed. He had the next 3 years of inwards and outwards tours on the drawing board for us.
I have received 100s of messages of condolences to give to Hetta and Fiona and Rachael and Richard from our IFCR friends in the UK. From every state of Australia, from India, South Africa, Pakistan, and all over New Zealand. Jock has drunk a lot of coffee all over the world. Hetta and Jock have great friends all over the world.
Rotary and its ideals appealed to Jock’s innate sense of goodness. A way to contribute to make a difference towards a better world for everyone. He started with a small step when we returned from India in 1999 and got a joint project underway which benefited a small village. I now he has been a much valued member of RC of Nelson. He was awarded a Paul Harris Award for his significant contributions to Rotary; supported always by Hetta.
Jock knew how to lead. He was an opening bowler. He knew how to bat. The middle order for him, or the tail when he preferred to give someone else a go first.
That was why he was so successful in business. He was a team man..
We will remember with much fondness
Down the back of the bus
Satchel – Financial times – crossword
The quiet strategist – talk around the possible consensus
Stop the bus – off in search of a coffee fix
The quiet chuckle –The deep thoughts - the serious consideration of issues
Then there is the NZ phenomenon–the Mussel Chowder Marketing Man
Giving certain powers of election before blekfast
Stunning promotion – tonnes of it in tins all over the world
Then there are the J L Hannah lists –and lists and lists
With manila folders – every time he came to see me in Wgtn out of his satchel or bag came several manila folders with thin A4 pages covered in lists and ideas
From this we came to know the man who loved meetings. Not for him the off the cuff stuff. He ran meetings so well and took the notes and sent them out.
Then there was the Over 60’s to Tasmania with the Auckland Cricket Society– 20+teams.
Jock bowled so well at the death of 6 games on tour to contain those Aussies
Then Jock and Hetta went with them to the Melbourne Boxing day test last Xmas
And this year the Over 60’s announced they have invented the Over 70’s Cricket Festival. A whole new world of cricket!
And then there was the whisky connoisseur – Drink your dram Jock
So the umpires signal to each other 2 balls to go. It’s been a slow over. That is how Jock bowled.
The fifth ball
Our great friend and poet, Presbyterian minister now retired Fraser Paterson; Bowler and cricket tragic, very like Jock, cannot be here. He sends his condolences to Hetta and the family. I asked him to pen a poem - which he has done - according to Robbie Burns:
Jock Hannah
Jock was a gracious friend of mine
Used his talent; gave his time
His life and bowling, right on line
 - A lovely manner
With all Rotarians I'll combine
 - We'll miss John Hannah.
Cricket was his favourite game
Gave him International fame;
Even though sometimes slightly lame
 - He took lots of wickets,
His batting could be just the same -
 - He'd strike the pickets.
Hon Sec of NZIFCR
Travelled round both near and far
NZ, SA and Australi-yah,
 - And our opinion:
“Our Jock was such a shining star
 - And great companion”
To Henrietta and children three
To all the friends and family
As we hear 'bout Jock's history
 - So glad he found you:
Our thoughts and prayers will always be
 - With love around you.
Fraser Paterson
And so the 6th Ball. The last ball to be bowled by me for Jock
A slow solid resounding goodbye:
Staunch to the end   - Jock did enjoy a good song - so join in…..The bum notes are for Jock………..

Leopold's Last Stand

John Leo Hannah - In Memoriam Page 2