Self-educated and intrepid veteran

James Quested as a young man in his Armoured Service uniform. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
James Quested as a young man in his Armoured Service uniform. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Georgetown identity James Quested, pictured in 2022 just after he turned 100. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Georgetown identity James Quested, pictured in 2022 just after he turned 100. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
James Walter Quested (Jim) was a World War 2 veteran who dedicated his life to his country, his family and community.

He was born and raised in Georgetown on the family egg farm, raising his own three children on the site, east of Duntroon that was settled by his grandfather in 1875.

He served the community at differing times on the local School Committee, Cemetery Committee, Hall Committee, water scheme and Community Trust.

In addition, he was a life member of the Lower Waitaki Lions and the North Otago RSA. He was also a director of the Farm Products Board and eventually became the managing director. 

He spent time away from Georgetown for service in World War 2, as a driver in the army, firstly in Italy and then, finishing up in the 27th Battalion in Japan and ending his service in 1946. 

RSA Local Support adviser Barry Gamble said Jim had been the last remaining member of the 20th Armoured Regiment association.

"[He was a] very nice gentleman, softly spoken, very polite and helpful.

"Just an all round good guy. 

"He was very proud of his service," Mr Gamble said.

One of Mr Gamble’s "special moments" was being in a room with both war veterans, Jim Quested and Selwyn Stanger, when Jim received a framed letter from the Chief of Army recognising his service in World War 2, that Mr Stanger had received the year before. 

Born in Oamaru on August 13, 1922, to Walter and Mary Quested, Jim grew up on the farm with his parents, brother Ray and sister Gladys. 

He attended Awamoko Primary and Waitaki Boys’ High School.

He lost his mother at the age of 12 and left school at the age of 14 to take up jobs in the local area.

In 1952, he married Mary (nee Smith) at the St Paul’s Presbyterian church in Oamaru.

The couple had three children, Christine, Stephen and Peter, and built up a successful poultry farm.

In the 1970s, he had enough of poultry farming and went to work at the freezing works for 12 seasons, enjoying the company of his fellow workers, after the isolation of farm work. 

His daughter Christine, who lived with her father for the last three years said her dad and a fellow worker still hold a record, that stands today, of hand-sewing 157 bales of wool in one day.

After he retired from the works he came back to work on the farm, that his son Stephen was now leasing, and never really stopped working, Christine said.

"Everyday he would be on his bicycle going around the farm, stopping to fix things he saw needing attention and working alongside Stephen." 

Christine said reading was also one of the "joys" in her father’s life and he educated himself by reading and he was a "dedicated newspaper reader".

"One thing that really impressed me about Dad is that he left school at 14 and he educated himself.

"He kept up with things, like using his phone for mobile banking and buying things online.

"He was born 100 years ago, when there was no electricity in his family home, and had no trouble to learn new things.

"He seemed to thrive in any era, " Christine said.

He also played rugby, cricket and indoor bowls for local clubs.

The army introduced Jim to overseas travel, he loved Italy, Christine said, and travelled back there on a trip funded by the Our Heroes Charitable Trust to Trieste, where he had been stationed during his service and followed that with a Mediterranean cruise. 

In 2014 he attended the 70th anniversary of the Battles of Cassino, the significant event was organised by Veterans Affairs. 

With his wife Mary, in 1988, they travelled to Samoa and in 1994 they rented a campervan and drove around England, Scotland and Wales.

"They proved to be very intrepid travellers in Samoa, visiting both islands at a time when the tourist infrastructure was not developed as it is today," Christine said.

Friends and relations were an important part of Jim’s life.

"We had lots of visits over the years with Dad’s brother, sister and friends and their families," Christine said.

"He was quite a clever bugger, he used to talk to his grandchildren on Facebook. I struggle to do that myself sometimes," Mr Gamble said.

"But he was able to." 

His granddaughter Lydia Quested worked with her grandfather on the farm and said he taught her the value of hard work and the kind of resilience not many people have these days. 

"Brutally honest at times, with a wicked sense of humour, I will miss him so much.

"So grateful my children got to love him as much as I do," she said.

He died on March 22, aged 101, with his family by his side.

Jim Quested is survived by his children, Christine, Stephen and Peter, their partners, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.