Green Island Badminton Club

Tribute to John Johnston

On behalf of the Green Island Badminton Club, Otago Badminton (particularly the Otago Masters) – and other Badminton players across Otago, Southland and the wider South Island, we offer our most sincere condolences to Christine and the Family.  We – like them, are feeling the deep shock of John’s passing, and will certainly remember John’s cheerfulness in the years to come.

John and Christine first met playing Badminton for Green Island some 43 years ago – playing in the old Green Island Civic Hall.  John first started playing Badminton as 10-Year-Old for the Green Island Club in 1965 – and has continued his association with the Green Island Club ever since!!  I would expect there are not too many Badminton Players that can claim to have represented the one Club continuously for 52 years.  That’s quite a record!!

Over the years, John has made a huge contribution to the Green Island Club, in a wide variety of ways.  He has served on the Club Committee, having been Vice President in ‘78 and ’79, before becoming President in 1980 and ’81.  As a matter of interest, Christine also served on the Committee at this time – as the Club Treasurer.  In later years, by his own admission, John was not a ‘Committee Person’ – preferring to assist the Club in many other ways.

He continuously assisted with Working Bees – both at the Sunnyvale Courts and at the Badminton Hall in Victoria Rd.  His skills as Builder were renowned and his attention to detail, left nothing to chance.  He was always willing to help out, spending countless hours renovating ‘this and that’.

John was an avid supporter of all things Badminton – a great supporter of the Green Island Club and particularly Otago Masters.  He spent many hours playing in the Badminton Otago Hall – most recently competing in the New Zealand Masters Games, where he won a number of medals.  John enjoyed competing and testing his Badminton Skill with the best – having taken part in Interclub Games, New Zealand Masters Games, National Badminton Championships, Otago Masters Champs, South Island Masters and Vets Champs, Cadbury Cup – and a host of other Tournaments.  He rarely said ‘No’ when asked if he could play!!

John enjoyed considerable success in the Club Championships – held annually.  He was successful in winning the Singles Champs 7 Times (most recently in 2010), the Doubles Champs 10 Times (with a wide variety of Partners) and also the Mixed Doubles, 10 Times (again with a wide variety of Partners).  His partners always enjoyed playing alongside John – as John always gave 100% - always encouraging his partners similarly!!

He will be well remembered for his ‘wicked’ cross court shots usually from the back of the court – which rocketed past opponents at what seemed like 100 miles per hour. These flat shots were always devastating.  He could easily turn defence into attack, and was well regarded for his powerful shots to all corners of the court!!

John will be most remembered as being a real gentleman – both ‘On Court’ and ‘Off it’.  He never got rattled or stressed on court and always accepted line calls, even when they did not ‘go his way’.  He never ever argued with Umpires.  Games were always enjoyable – and there were often ‘lots of laughs’ on court.  John will always be remembered for his patience on court – particularly with any Juniors he was ‘paired up’ with.  He always helped them out by suggesting better ways to play the game.

All in all, John has made a huge contribution to the Game of Badminton in Green Island – and in Otago.  He was recognised by the Club in 2002, when he was honoured with the award of Life Membership.  He certainly deserved the recognition!!

Farewell John!!  You will be in our hearts for a very long time!!