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Tribute to The Very Rev Dr Jack Somerville

Tribute to The Very Rev Dr Jack Somerville ONZ, CMG, MC


6 October 1999

Tribute to The Very Rev Dr Jack Somerville ONZ, CMG, MC

Dr Jack Somerville embodied the best virtues of a New Zealand citizen, said Clutha-Southland MP and Treasurer Bill English.

"His service as a clergyman, as an educator, as a mentor, and as a war chaplain, was of the utmost distinction. A deep modesty characterised his life.

"Dr Somerville's bond with southern New Zealand was profound. The first parish he was inducted to was Tapanui, now in the Clutha-Southland electorate, in 1938. His contribution to the civic and University life of Dunedin was unique, and rose from a deep love for the city and its people.

"His service to the Presbyterian Church as a minister, as Master of Knox College and as Moderator of the General Assembly made a real difference to the lives of Otago-Southland people. His intellectual integrity, selflessness, and openness to the Word of God, were all characteristics he passed on in the Church life of the region.

"He was one of the great all-time padres of the New Zealand Army. Many servicemen can recall how he brought Christ to men on the field.

"Dr Somerville was also a remarkable educator who taught an entire generation of ministry candidates. University wardens and masters of Halls of Residence play an important role on the Otago University campus, and as Master of Knox College, he mentored countless students who have gone on into professional life.

"We have lost a terrific New Zealander," said Mr English.


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