Hero photograph
Photo by Kathryn Eagle

Tributes to Mr Lennon from Old Boys

Kathryn Eagle —

Gary’s family has been humbled by the extraordinary number of tributes that have been paid to him on social media.

Here is a small selection of posts from hundreds of St Bede's Old Boys' who kindly took time to share their memories of 'Mr Lennon' on the Old Boys’ Association Facebook or LinkedIn pages:

"One of the greats and certainly a great role model for the thousands of young men who went through Bedes. An absolute character and tough but fair. If you ended up in room 14 it wasn’t a good day but you probably deserved it. 1st XV pre-match team talks were legendary as were the scrum training sessions in the room under the gym". Ben O’Malley, 1985-1987

"One memory that has always stuck with me was when he walked around the quads at lunchtime with his tiny pink lunch box". Rylee Muddle, 1988-1992

"He was a great man and someone that helped shaped my future, his wisdom stays with me today. One thing that everyone always knew he was firm but fair. Thank you for all you’ve done for us 'Beadians' I can hear you calling 'That’s ranks men' in Heaven". Jason Allender, 1993-1997

"Never forget those immortal words. DIXON my office!!" Campbell Dixon, 1992-1994

"What an amazing contribution. I recall he picked me in the squad that went to Brisbane in 1976. My first overseas trip. Then the first 15. At the end of the year he called me to his office. Quote “ If you come back next year (7th form) I will make you captain.” A great honour and a great man ( I did go back). His description of the other schools we played prior to each 'test match' you couldn’t print." Glen O’Brien, 1973-1977

"I have always had the upmost respect for Mr Lennon, I will never forget his voice, I think he was the best principal a high school could ever have, he knew what he was doing, I have never forgotten those early birds". Scott Rusbatch, 1994-1996

"Kua hinga te tōtara o Te Waonui a Tāne - the tōtara in the great forest of Tāne has fallen. A man, who was feared by third formers everywhere, was revered by the same young men 3-4 years later, once they learned his ways. The respect for him was unparalleled - any classroom he walked into was met with instant silence, all standing to attention (teachers included), and a quick cleaning of the shoes on the back of the trousers. I will be polishing my shoes and tucking in my shirt today, awaiting inspection at the front gate". Dave Moloney, 1992-1996 

"What a legend of a man with so much respect. He was the first person to call me Mr Hughes. You always addressed us as men but you were the man Mr Lennon." Craig Hughes, 1990-1993

"Never gonna forget how you stood at the gate making sure we were well presented leaving the school, blazers on tie done right and socks pulled up." Benjamin Dempsey, 2000-2003 

"Absolute champion human being, teacher and cricket coach." Kent Krammer, 1989-1993

"You had the most intestinal fortitude of all Mr Lennon." Michael Whitaker, 2004-2008

"If you caused trouble got a log of detentions he developed a nickname for you when he did the roll check 'Hess...not again'. " John Hessey, 1994-1997

"A true gentleman and highly respected leader. Humbling to consider how many lives he has influenced and helped shape boys into men of Bede. Truly a life lived by faith and works."  Andrew Rusbatch, 1992-1996

"As a 12 year old newly arrived to St Bedes from Westport he was a daunting prospect. That was until I realised he had values that stand the test of time, hard work, respect and a bit of fun". Richard Wilkinson, 1979-1982

"Everyone has a favourite Gary Lennon moment. The beaming drill-sergeant voice and wry humour. I remember being singled out (deservedly) in assembly for my birds nest haircut "That man! Get a haircut!". Another highlight were his music appreciation classes." Andrew McMillan, 1989-1993

"We’d been beaten by STAC @ their ground. As we always did a day or so later there was a post-mortem in his classroom, top story, east end of Brodie. On each desk was the game programme with 17 - 0 written at the top. Nothing else was said. Gary just stared at us all for a few moments & that’s all it needed. Still got that programme tucked away." – Bruce Houghton, 1973-1977 

"I remember walking into his office in trouble for something to be greeted with 'Paaartrick give me a number between 6 and 8….' '7 Mr Lennon ?' 'Perfect answer Paaartrick, early bird I’ll see you then'." Patrick Kirkland, 2003-2005

"Epic man. I remember my first day at St. Bedes and my best mates going something 'we just had the scariest speech from this crazy guy'. It wasn't long before I heard him for myself. A kind-hearted disciplinarian who loved us all and our potential." John Kelleher, 1982-1986

"The heart and soul of a great school, who was a massive influence. A teacher who remembered every pupil’s middle names - you know he cared." Tim Fisher, 1996-2000

"RIP Sir. It was an absolute pleasure being taught by you". Mike McIntyre, 1982-1986

“He was a Formidable man, and a Good man. He will be missed! Sleep well Mr Lennon....I wouldn't dare call him Gary.” Richard Sandrowicz, 1984-1987

“You just made Seargent Griffin” still sends a shiver." Hamish Griffin, 1984-1986

"Not only did he teach boys to become men. He taught them to become gentleman. Respect and integrity. Those lessons will live on through those that experienced a true leader and a true man who never backs down if you have faith. Faith in your self and faith in your work. One of the best coaches In NZ who always said to me: winning isn’t everything, but wanting it is. It is the want- that is the key. RIP Sir- we all would have followed you into battle." Sam Rough, 1996-200