Newspaper Article 2015 – Academic and sportsman was manager of Frigidaire

Academic and sportsman was manager of Frigidaire


Ian Ormonde Stace
April 14, 1914 – August 22, 2015

Ian Stace, the father of Hawke’s Bay company director and businessman John Stace, died last weekend, aged 101.

Born at Spring Creek, Blenheim, he grew up in the Marlborough-Nelson region, progressing from being a top student and sportsman at Nelson College and Canterbury University, to learning to fly with the RNZAF and spending 33 years in Wellington with General Motors, during which he became manager of Frigidaire, and a director from 1969 to retirement in 1979.

The second son of Henry Joseph Stace and Jane (nee Chaytor), of Marshlands, he was the last surviving of four brothers, and is survived by his wife of 70 years Margaret, originally from Havelock North, 95, sons John and Nigel, and daughter Jane (Martin), and nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Also an uncle to John, Andrew, Sam and Vicky Orton, of Hawke’s Bay, he died at Summerset-at-the-Course, Trentham, last Saturday.

A private family service was held on Tuesday and a thanksgiving service to celebrate his life will be held at St John’s Anglican Church, Trentham on October 16.

He went to Marshlands School from 1922-1925, and boarded at Nelson College from 1926-1932, being Head Prefect in his final year.

Ian graduated from Canterbury University in 1938 with a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering. He was the Students’ Association president (1937-8) and New Zealand University Students’ Association president in 1938.

Having represented Canterbury University in rugby, cricket, golf and shooting, he also won its steeplechase in 1938, while he played rugby for New Zealand Universities on a tour of Japan in 1935.

He worked for the Marlborough Power Board before joining General Motors in 1940, a year in which he was to display another arm of his sporting and engineering prowess by winning the Wellington Centennial hydroplane regatta on Wellington Harbour in a boat he built with a Ford V8 engine.

Rugby injuries prevented him from joining his brothers serving abroad in World War II, but he did pass the medical, learned to fly and became a navigator with the RNZAF.

Having married in 1945, he went back to work at GM the next year.

He served 18 years on the Wellington Manufacturers Association executive, and working on the foundation New Zealand Australia  Free Trade Agreement, which  later became the CER.

Retiring from General Motors in 1979 he joined the board of Salmond Industries, and otherwise spent retirement establishing a bach and boating in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

He played off a single-digit handicap at golf for many years, and was a life member of the Royal Wellington Golf Club, which he had joined in 1940 and which he had served as club captain and president.

Photo caption – ALL ROUNDER: Ian Stace had an exemplary career in business, aviation and sport.

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Newspaper article

Date published

29 August 2015


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Jane Martin, nee Stace
  • Andrew, John, Sam, Vicky Orton
  • Henry Joseph Stace
  • Ian Ormonde Stace
  • Jane Stace, nee Chaytor
  • John Stace
  • Margaret Stace
  • Nigel Stace

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