In memory of Frank Robertson


It is with great sadness the Foundation acknowledges the passing of Frank Robertson, a loyal and generous supporter of our annual dinner.

Frank and his wife Colleen attended every A Night to Remember dinner bar one since 2013, rounding up friends and associates to form an enthusiastic table of party goers.

Frank, died on August 11th, aged 78, just two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. Those that knew him won’t be surprised to learn that Frank, a retired insurance industry actuary, organised much of his funeral as befitting his methodical and analytical mind. 

Among the dozens of stories told at Frank’s funeral were those of his insatiable curiosity, which would see him immersed in the culture of the country he was working or visiting, much to the amusement of his family and the local population. A speaker of five languages, including two dialects of Malaysian, Frank would like nothing better than to head to the local markets to practise his linguistic and bartering skills. 

His four children – Peter, David, Kathryn and Felicity – told those attending how Frank made each one them feel as if they were the most-favoured and of how their father’s lack of cooking skills led to lots of takeaways or the production of ‘Dad’s special sandwich’, comprising copious quantities of peanut butter, brown sugar, hundreds and thousands and several layers of bread. 

Frank and Colleen chose to retire to Dunedin a dozen years ago, having lived and worked in England, Malaysia and Australia. Having been a former Scout Master and keen to continue with community service, Frank quickly became involved with the Andersons Bay Bowls Club, Probus and the Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society where he was reunited with the 1916 Dennis fire engine he and two fellow University of Otago students had bought in the 1960s and which has now been fully restored. 

It was fitting Frank’s casket was carried from the funeral service on that very appliance. 

As was with the case during his decades with the Scout movement, Frank willingly took on a number of club administrative duties with enthusiasm and professionalism. 

A special love was trout fishing. Second son David and youngest daughter Felicity shared the same birthday, six years apart. David’s birthday-present that day was a yellow fishing rod which he remembers much more vividly than the birth of his sister. It is rumoured Frank suggested that at 10lb if Felicity had been a trout, he would have had her stuffed and mounted as a much-prized trophy. 

Frank William Robertson always had a twinkle in his eye and gentle, somewhat enigmatic smile. At A Night to Remember he would be resplendent in his Robertson tartan kilt. 

We will miss his company, his genuine interest and his humour. Our condolences go out to Colleen and Frank’s children.