By Gordon Mathieson
Mr Herbert Towers reached his 90th Birthday on 13 March 1989 and the Paeroa and District Historical Society is honoured to pay a tribute to one of Paeroa's many distinguished sons.
Born in Rye Lane, Paeroa (now Towers Street) in 1899, the eldest of seven children of William John Towers and Louisa May Towers (nee Stevens), Herbert attended Paeroa District High School, beginning in 1904 when the Headmaster was Mr F Murphy, his infant mistress, Miss Minnie Shaw. In 1912 Herbert reached High School age and was taught by Miss Margaret Craig (later Mrs Schiska) and Miss A E Minchin before winning a Scholarship which admitted him to Auckland Grammar School. After attending the University of Auckland he taught at King's College, Otahuhu for 2 years. He then joined the staff of Mt Albert Grammar when it opened in 1922.
Mr Towers was responsible for organising Mt Albert Grammar's first athletic Championships in 1923, and this year, he was on hand at the School to see the 67th Annual Champs. In fact he has never missed an athletics meeting in the entire history of the school - an achievement that most would regard as an unique record.
The 2 March 1989 issue of the "NZ Herald" featured a photograph and article concerning Mr Tower's 90th Birthday, Further information regarding the Towers family may be found in the Ohinemuri Regional History Journal No 4, page 26 and there is a brief tribute to Herbert Towers in Journal 16 page 30 accompanied by a photograph of the High School pupils of 1912. Of the 45 pupils shown, only 3 are with us today, as far as it is known. These are Herbert Towers himself, Nellie Scott (Mrs N S Climie), 91 and Eileen Poland (Mrs Treanor), 90, of Russell Street, Paeroa.
Mr Towers continued to teach at Mt Albert Grammar - he was Head of the Mathematics Department for many years, until he retired in 1979 at the age of 80 years, the last few years being served as part-time staff.
In honour of his services to School Athletics, he was awarded the MBE in 1963 and the OBE followed in 1977.
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