ROTARIANS will find it hard to top John Reid’s record of 57 years membership in the worldwide service organisation.
His death at the age of 92 ends a remarkable achievement considering he joined at the age of 35 and continued attending meetings despite failing health.
When he first joined as a humble electrician he was in the company of esteemed community dignitaries including clothing entrepreneur Fletcher Jones.
During his many years of membership he was involved in every avenue of Rotary service including Rotoract.
John Melville Reid was delivered by a midwife at home in Prestwick Scotland on January 1, 1922 and travelled to Australia by ship with his five siblings in 1928 and their mother to be reunited with their father who was working with Nestle at Dennington.
The day they arrived in Warrnambool in 1929 happened to be the day when the Hotel Mansions on the Koroit-Kepler streets corner burnt down.
John began his working career at Morse’s body works on a wage of one pound 50 shillings and later gained an electrical apprenticeship with Nestle when there were about 1000 workers employed at the factory.
His application to enlist in the navy for World War II was rejected because he was considered more valuable at home in a protected industry.
After a brief stint in Williamstown and Ballarat he returned to Warrnambool to work as foreman for the late Jimmy Leahy. Then in 1949 he opened his own electrical contracting business at his Skene Street home using a Baby Austin car converted into a utility before opening a shop in Lava Street called the Warrnambool Lighthouse.
In 1968 he and his wife Gladys opened a new business in Timor Street where they diversified into musical instruments and sound systems and incorporated a Tattersall’s agency. John diversified his skills to refurbish older instruments.
In his spare time he was involved in various community organisations and was a renowned singer, including the national anthem to close Rotary meetings.
As a member of Warrnambool Theatre Group he made many props for productions and held the position of president of the group.