TRESEDER,Gilbert Henry m on 09.05.1923 to UDY, Edna Annie
b 01.11.1891 d 14.01.1965 b 17.07 1893 d 25.11.1993
Gilbert b. at Denniston, m. at Greytown and d. and bd. At Hastings. Edna, d/o Hart Udy and Alice Isobel Poad, b. at Greytown.
Gilbert’s father worked for the Westport Coal Company in Denniston. The family moved to Petone where he finished his schooling. He was determined to become a farmer, and at the age of 15 he obtained employment on a South Wairarapa sheep station. At the age of 19 he was back with his family at Petone where he was employed as a storeman by J B MacEwan and Company. He attended classes to study wool classing and handling. He then worked on a farm in the Manawatu district. But WW1 intervened. He was one of the first to enlist and he sailed with the Main Body as an artilleryman.
In Egypt he contracted pneumonia and was invalided home. Restored to health, he joined all the major engagements of the New Zealand Division till the end of hostilities.
After his demobilisation Gilbert took up dairy farming in the Hutt Valley. His real opportunity came, however, when he participated successfully in a soldier settlement ballot for a 435-acre section in Crownthorpe.
The land was raw and undeveloped, but like many of his generation, Gilbert met the challenge with hard work and resolute courage. The flourishing farm that he made of the property is today a memorial to his enterprise and industry at a time when reward and inducement were meagre.
Gilbert and Mr C Tolley were among the first to recognise the place of subterranean clover in pasture management, particularly if the objective was to fill ships with early cargoes for the London market. They seeded the country and won a ready response, thereby setting the pattern for a new technique in the farming of notoriously dry belts in Hawke’s Bay.
Three years after he took up the property, Gilbert and Edna were married and they remained on the farm until 1960 when they made their last home in Tanner Street, Havelock North.
As a young man, Gilbert was a keen rugby player. He was a member of the Hastings Rugby Football Club. He was also a fast 220-yards and middle-distance runner. The visiting topline American runner, George Parker, discovered this during his 1911 tour of the Dominion. The youthful Gilbert was matched against the American in a handicap event, and he was told by the American that a record was the quest. The Hutt Valley stripling was told that the American relied on him to make the pace. The younger man did – losing the race by half a chin.
In later life Gilbert was a keen bowler as a member of the Kia Toa Bowling Club, Hastings. He was a member of the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club and a keen member of the County Club, Hastings. He is well remembered for his part in fund-raising to maintain the Sherenden Hall. He organised and took part in concert parties and proved a gifted entertainer.
A man of great energy and with a zestful approach, Gilbert was a staunch supporter of the Main Body Association. He attended and marched with the “Dinks” at a reunion in Auckland shortly before his death.
Gilbert had enjoyed good health. Illness came suddenly while he was revisiting familiar places in the Wairarapa during the Christmas Holidays.
For Edna, the abiding love of her life, from the time she was eight, has been music. In fact her whole family was musical and from an early age she was irresistibly drawn to any piano she came in contact with. Once when she was very young, the Sunday School pianist did not turn up one Sunday so young Edna offered to play for them. Which she did – “Jesus loves Me” – with one finger! When she was ten years old her father bought her a piano to coincide with the arrival of a new baby in the family, and from then on her whole life was centred around her music. She learnt pianoforte and singing too, for she had a very promising voice. She practised four hours daily, and later as she attained higher and higher standards, for six hours. Passing all her music examinations, she took to teaching, and at one stage had 28 pupils. In 1915 she played the piano for the local picture theatre and she had to have a repertoire handy to suit every change of scene and every incident in the silent film. Generous with her talents, she played and sang at every function in the locality, and in an orchestra of 27 for the dances for the troops in the Featherston Military Camp during the First World War. She also organised concert parties for the local military hospital.
After her marriage she spent hard days helping Gilbert to breaking in their barren block. They lived in primitive shearing shearing quarters at first and then slowly extended their home, later rebuilding it. They developed the uncleared ground about the home into a beautiful garden. Edna died peacefully aged 100 years and is buried in the little churchyard at Crownthorpe where she played the organ for 35 years.
Refer to “The Genealogy of the Pilcher Family of Tawa, Wellington,” published by Evagean Publishing in 1993, for further details of Edna’s family.