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News > Announcements > Obituaries > In Memoriam: KEITH STUART MANN (S 45-49)

In Memoriam: KEITH STUART MANN (S 45-49)

Born in London in 1932, Keith's teenage and adult sporting life revolved around fencing. At the Nautical College, he was a Cadet Captain in Hesperus and Captain of Fencing in 1949.
30 Nov 2021
Written by Robin Knight
Obituaries

KEITH STUART MANN (S 45-49)

Keith Stuart Mann (S 45-49) died in Christchurch, New Zealand on November 13th 2021 aged 89 as we were informed by his family. He had been unwell for most of 2021 and been in hospital and, briefly, a rest home. He married Nanette Buckleton in 1956 and had three sons Brett, Tony and Greg.

Born in London in 1932, Keith’s teenage and adult sporting life revolved around fencing. At the Nautical College, he was a Cadet Captain in Hesperus division, Captain of Fencing in 1949, and the 1948 winner of both the Under-16 Naval Cadets championship and the Under-20 Junior Officers championship at that year’s Royal Tournament.

On leaving the NCP, Keith joined the Blue Star line and by 1954 had become a First Officer with the company. Two years later he left the sea, emigrated to New Zealand, married, and began a totally new career in commerce in sales and marketing with the multi-national company Dunlop Rubber.

Progress was steady and within a few years he had become an Area Manager. Aged 35, he was transferred to the divisional head office as part of the management team. In the mid-1970s he was head-hunted by another company which itself soon after became the subject of a takeover and substantial reduction in activities. He lost his job and re-joined Dunlop after an absence of three years. In 1983 he was transferred to Hong Kong for four years as General Manager and director of a subsidiary business – a role which involved extensive travel in the Far East and especially China, then emerging from its “cultural revolution” and eager to acquire new products, technologies and international contacts.

In 1988 Keith returned to New Zealand and was given the task of managing the introduction of a specialised product range made in the USA which was related to the site management of storage and environmental protection installations. On retiring aged 60 in 1992, he set up his own company and continued his association with Dunlop as a consultant for the next ten years.

Throughout this career Keith was involved in fencing at a high level and was fortunate to be receive support and encouragement from his employers. Rising rapidly to the top of the sport in New Zealand, he represented the country at four Commonwealth Games, twice as a competitor (1962, 1966) and twice as a team or Games official (1970, 1974). From 1967-70 he was President of the NZ National Fencing Federation (NZNFA) and from 1971-80 sole national selector. In 1994 he became President of the NZNFA for a second time. In 2004 he was awarded a Special Award by the NZNFA for services to the sport. Three years later he became a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to sport, especially fencing.

An obituary posted by Fencing New Zealand stated: “Keith was the epitome of a good fencer and a role model for many in the fencing community…He was renowned for always acting with modesty and good sportsmanship…At 89 years old he was still fencing, refereeing bouts, coaching sabre at (his) club and often representing it at regional meetings. RIP Keith – a true gentleman who served our sport well for so many years.”

Robin Paine (S 55-58), who for some years organised OP events in New Zealand, adds: “Keith was a great supporter of our annual OP lunches at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland and attended for six consecutive years. He also attended the Centenary Celebrations in 2017. What was remarkable was that he would fly up from Christchurch for the day, an 80-minute flight from the South Island to the North Island, and make his way from the airport to the RNZYS, adding another hour each way to his travel. His last attendance was in 2018 as the journey was becoming too much. He was always great company and used to consider the annual event as one of the highlights of his year.”

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