Malcolm Allison became our farm consultant when we converted part of our farm to dairying 14 years ago.
Always calm, reasonable and reasoned, he helped us through the challenges of conversion and expansion, outbreaks of TB, staff and management problems and other highs and lows of dairying.
He also introduced us to the delicious taste of venison ham when he gave us the leg of a deer he’d shot on one of his many hunting trips.
A couple of months ago we joined more than 100 other clients for a dinner at Riverstone Cafe for a farewell party in his hnour. It was an especially poignant gathering because he wasn’t going on to something better. He had terminal cancer and we were there to pay tribute to him before it was too late for him to know how much we valued him.
Ours was one of the farms scheduled for a visit during his final week at work last month, but his health took a sudden deterioration and for the first time in 14 years, he had to cancel.
Malcolm died last week and yesterday his family, friends, colleagues and clients crowded into the Oamaru Club for his final farewell.
We learned about the boy who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate; the man who loved farming, tramping and hunting, the rugby player and club stalwart,; and the consummate professional who gave his best in his personal and professional lives.
There was both laughter and tears as we celebrated the life of a man who lived life to the full but sadly not for long enough.