Glenyss Blackshaw (1937 – 2018)

Helensville resident Glenyss Myrtle Blackshaw (nee Hodson) passed away in September 2018, aged 81. Glenyss and her husband Brian were involved in a wide range of businesses and organisations in the district and she will be sadly missed by many people. She was a much-loved member of the community, regarded as a treasure in the town for her unfailing helpfulness and years of commitment to local activities.
Glenyss was born in Hawera on 30 June 1937, the first child of sharemilkers Agnes and Don Hodson. Sons Denzil and Byron followed. Because of the Hodson’s work they moved often, and Glenyss attended several schools. In 1952 the family moved to Woodhill, buying a small block of land behind the school, and Trent was born in 1958. In 1960 tragedy came with Don’s sudden passing. A few years later Agnes moved to Miro Street.
Glenyss first worked at Gandell’s book shop in Helensville then moved to the Waitemata Power Board office in Commercial Road. She and Brian married in June 1968. They had two daughters, Rebecca and Briar. Glenyss and Brian ran a variety of businesses, ranging from forestry to garden and property maintenance to the Wool and Handcraft Shop.
They bought a property at Ohirangi Road, renovating and extending the home and gardens. From there, they moved to the former Bradly homestead on the corner of Bradly Road, where they again renovated the house and extended the garden and orchard, generously bartering or donating produce from their prolific plum trees. Brian ran a picture framing business and Glenyss ran the Wool and Handcraft shop for eight years, building it up to become a bustling little shop selling local crafts and pottery and holding classes in the holidays. In the 1990s Glenyss worked on Saturdays in the Oikumene shop.
The many community activities she was involved in included Girl Guides, the Berry Festivals, Country and Western music, Acclimatisation Society, Christmas parades, Woodhill Badminton, and various churches. She was a foundation member of the River Valley Baptist Church, where she became treasurer. The Historical Society was one of her main interests in her later years, and she held office as Treasurer and Vice-President. She and Brian were active in garden and grounds maintenance and Glenyss always took a personal interest in members, keeping in contact with birthday greetings and recognition of health needs, etc. She loved to put on her period costume for group visits, which she helped organise.
Brian and Glenyss opened their home to anyone passing by, always offering a cup of tea and something from the cake tin. Once the girls moved out they opened their home to students from Japan who were visiting Kaipara College for weeks or months at a time. They enjoyed taking the students to the forest and beaches to let them experience Kiwi life. Glenyss also enjoyed helping at Kaipara College during exam time.
Glenyss was proud of the three generations of their family and was very involved in their lives. Failing health meant a move for the Blackshaws to Crestwood Retirement Village in New Lynn to be nearer their daughters and families. Glenyss fitted into village life and made new friends quickly, while still enjoying visits and phone calls from Helensville friends.
A fall in May put Glenyss into Waitakere Hospital for nine weeks, after which she then needed hospital care at Selwyn Village in Pt Chevalier. Brian remained at Crestwood in rest-home care, but weekly visits and calls meant they weren’t far from each other. They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in June surrounded by family.
Glenyss will be missed by many in the Helensville community. After her death people described her as “a true character and stalwart of the town”, “a real community icon”, “a wonderful lady who will be missed by everyone who knew her”, and “a woman who enriched Helensville by all she did and contributed, leaving behind a wonderful legacy.”
Glenyss is survived by her husband Brian, daughters Rebecca and Briar, sons-in-law Drayton and Graeme and grandchildren Maia, Aria, Huia and Charlotte. The family wish to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this time.

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