It is with much regret I write this knowing that a good friend, John Cooney, has recently deceased. I know nothing more than this other than that I believe it has occurred in France. John and Maggie have been away on a much deserved, and I believe from the few photos I have seen, enjoyable holiday, visiting many locations, viewing and experiencing many things.
I know that many of you that read this will also have found thoughts and memories of our Vice-President. I do not remember when I first met John. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. How long he has been a member of the club, how long he has been on the committee or even how long he has been my vice-president, frankly I have no idea, in part I think because the years just chug by and you lose track of who fits in where.
I do remember it was a number of years before I met his wife Maggie, whom he had frequently mentioned rather fondly and for her I mourn.
John and I sometimes got on the phone, and I do mean sometimes, it wasn’t frequent (probably just as well!), and we could talk and talk and talk, it was just natural. We even managed to talk about politics, and despite this I still have no idea what his actual political persuasion was. He was just someone I found I could naturally chat to, about anything, and that is I think why I don’t know his political persuasion. Both of us could see merit or issues in most political policies, and we would talk about that, and not blame or give too much merit to whichever political party was involved.
I do know that in Victoria, Australia, he owned a number of Peugeots over the years. He talked fondly of both 505s and 604s, especially their comfort, as well as the occasional frustration of how much fuel was consumed by the 604s, making some trips in Australia impossible as they didn’t have the range to go between petrol stations in the real outback. He once told me there was nothing more comfortable and enjoyable than driving a 505 along the Great Ocean Road.
We also both had a love for the AFL – Aussie Rules – for those that don’t know. We said we would attend the Grand Final some year together; that won’t happen.
All of us in the Club have much to thank him for. John more so than myself, or anyone else at that, has kept the relationship with the Distributors alive. He has arranged with the dealers our AGM visits in recent years at both Armstrongs and Southern Autos. John also organised and liaised with the Citroen Club in recent years when we shared Bastille Day celebrations with them.
A couple of times I think he was the only member to fly our flag at events they had organised. In the last few years my work has got busier and Jeanette has also started to hand over the reins (thankfully not the magazine as yet!), and as John got quieter in retirement, he more than anyone else in the committee took up the slack, helped organise events or did the odd odd job that was required.
I know he had some regrets including work getting in the way of him being able to attend interclub events organised by Sven and/or Nick in Taranaki and King Country. He would have loved to have travelled with us. The life of a real estate agent and in particular Sunday Auctions and Open Homes just not allowing him the freedom.
Unfortunately Covid arrived, both Sven and Nick have shifted overseas and we haven’t managed to hold any of these events since he retired.
In one of those small world stories about a month ago, John and Maggie were on a River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, one where each night you get a new table to sit at. One night he and Maggie sat with Sven and Coby. A real surprise and delight for John who had never met Sven previously, yet had heard so many stories about him. It was obvious from his short email he sent a few of us that he was pleased as well as incredulous about his good fortune.
John you will be missed. Our collective love to you Maggie and family.