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Former Cockle Bay Primary teacher dies

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Lovest Reynolds taught at Cockle Bay Primary for 18 years.

A former Cockle Bay Primary teacher, Lovest Reynolds, has died.

Lovest, a long-time Howick and Pakuranga resident, passed away after a short illness on September 29, aged 95, with family beside her.

Born in 1925, Lovest grew up in Ponsonby, before the family moved to Pakuranga in 1940.

She attended Auckland Girls Grammar and then went to Teachers Training College, kick-starting a passionate career in child education that would see her tutoring into her 90s.

After two years’ country service on Waiheke Island, she then taught at Howick District High School, now known as Howick Intermediate.

Later, she travelled to Canada to do her OE (overseas experience).

In 1951, in the New Brunswick Championships, Lovest was the Ladies Tennis Champion. She’d developed a keen interest and talent for the sport in her youth.

After travelling to England, Lovest met her future husband, Patrick, also a teacher. They married in London and had their first two boys, John and Vincent.

The family returned to New Zealand in February 1957 and lived at Pakuranga with Lovest’s parents for three years before moving to Bledisloe Street in Howick. Three more boys, Robert, Peter and Bryan, followed.

She would be a teacher at Cockle Bay Primary for 18 years from 1967 to 1985. Her kind nature, willingness to help others and love for teaching would leave a lasting impression on those around her, including her family, fellow teachers, and students.

“She was one of my favourite teachers,” Joan Stevens wrote. “I’ll never forget walking to her house to see the bees.”

Lovest and her husband were beekeepers for more than 40 years. They would regularly travel to international beekeeping conferences and Lovest would often show her students the bees she kept.

Barbara Carr wrote that she had the privilege of teaching with Lovest for a number of years at Cockle Bay.

“I also experienced her willingness to share her house. She very kindly offered me the use of her shower, after I had bicycled to her house, before I went into school.”

This experience was consistent throughout Lovest’s life.

“Our home was always open for anyone,” eldest son John says. “We would regularly have people coming over. I remember my friends coming over just to speak with my mother.”

Lovest, throughout the years, became involved with many clubs and activities within the Howick and Pakuranga community.

She was president of the Pakuranga Croquet Club and an active member of U3A (University of the Third Age), Howickians and Howick Dinner and Tennis clubs.

“She was very community-engaged and minded,” says Robert, her third eldest son.

Lovest also loved to travel, visiting Europe, Mexico, Japan and many other places. “Her favourite trip was seeing her older brother, Bill, in Switzerland,” John says.

After her tenure at Cockle Bay Primary, Lovest would continue tutoring in the ensuing decades. She would help many of the Asian immigrants who moved to Howick and even, says John, helped a young man prepare for his medical school entry exam.

“She always loved helping people,” John says.

Her husband, Patrick, died in 2018. They were married for 65 years.

Lovest is survived by 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“Family,” John says, “was the most important thing to her.”

Her sons describe her as supportive, kind, friendly and well-respected.

“She never said no,” says Robert.

“She was a mother to many,” John says.

Her legacy, her sons say, are the students she has taught.

“She would go to the ends of the earth to help struggling children.”

Lovest’s family would love to hear the memories of people who knew her. These will be shared as part of her memorial. Email john@jre.co.nz if you would like to share.

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