Memorial service for master plumber – The Gisborne Herald

Published 08 July 2021 11:2929


Russell Watton was known in this area as a skilled plumber and gas fitter, as well as a sportsman in cricket and rugby in the 1960s and 1970s, and later in sailing and tennis.

He passed away last December and his family and friends will gather for a memorial service this weekend.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, they have not been able to get family from Australia so far.

Russell was born on April 11, 1946 and died in Gisborne on December 15.

He was the youngest of eight children born to Charles and Daisy Watton.

He attended Kaiti School and Gisborne Intermediate School before entering Gisborne Boys’ High School in the early 1960s, where he played rugby and cricket for the second and first teams.

Army cadets, where he made the rank of sergeant, was another interest of Russell as a youngster.

On leaving school Russell joined Pirates rugby and cricket clubs, where he played in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Russell was known in the Gisborne area as a skilled plumber and gas fitter with many years of experience.

He was 18 when he started plumbing training with Oldings Services Ltd in 1964. He worked there for 24 years, during which time he was part of the team that worked on many historic buildings in Gisborne, including Lytton High School and the DB Hotel.

Russell and his wife Susanne started their own plumbing business in 1988.

A well-known and respected craftsman, Russell was a great ambassador for the Gisborne district plumbing trade and was president of the Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Association between 1994 and 1996.

Dunblane, Te Wiremu House and the Gisborne Milk Factory were places where he was employed as a maintenance plumber and gas fitter.

Many long-term relationships with management and staff were forged during Russell’s years of work in these buildings.

Sadly his wife Susanne passed away in 2008.

RJWatton Plumbing’s business continued until Russell’s retirement in his late 60s.

Tennis and sailing were two of the Watton family’s pursuits.

Together with their children, Russell and his wife Sue were very active in the 1970s and 1980s at the Kia Ora Tennis Club in Bushmere and in later years at the Gisborne Yacht Club.

Russell leaves behind his daughter Donna and son Greg and four granddaughters, all of whom live in Melbourne, Australia.

His memorial service will be held at Evans Funeral Services on Sunday, July 11 at 11 a.m.

FAREWELL SERVICE: A memorial service will be held this Sunday morning for the late Russell Watton (pictured) who was renowned for many years of plumbing work in Gisborne, as well as in sporting circles such as cricket, rugby and sailing. Photo supplied

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