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John Victor Kiddie: 1947-2012

Thu 7 Jun 2012 In: Hall of Fame View at Wayback View at NDHA

Family members and old friends have farewelled John Kiddie, a man whose name will remain forged in New Zealand’s gay history, but who will also be remembered as an incredibly kind and giving man, and most of all a gentleman. The 65-year-old died at his Auckland home on Sunday, after being diagnosed with cancer last year. He spent 46 years with his partner in life and business Tony Katavich, and the pair joined with the late Brett Sheppard to create a string of gay businesses, ranging from the iconic Alfies nighclubs to Out! Magazine. Katavich told around 100 mourners who gathered at Purewa All Souls Chapel in Meadowbank this afternoon that 46 years ago he received a call asking him to pick up a young man, who was very nice and wouldn’t be any trouble, and take him to Totara Park for a party. “The older ones here will know what went on at Totara Park,” Katavich quipped. He then recalled the next day, when he asked Kiddie how much his rent was, told him it was too much, and asked him to move in. “We have shared everything since then,” he said. Full of both humour and raw emotion, Katavich recalled the pair’s involvement in the struggle for gay rights during the Homosexual Law Reform debate. He said his partner’s proudest and happiest moments were when he referred to Katavich as his partner when dealing with government bureaucrats. “We jointly have achieved much for gay rights,” Katavich proudly said, referring to the trio of himself, Kiddie and Sheppard as the “Three Musketeers,” and “pioneers for gay rights”. He told mourners he and Kiddie were soul mates, and said everyone who met his partner liked him, “that’s because he was a gentleman”. “We have to keep going,” Katavich stalwartly added. “There’s no use crying. We have to keep going.” A close friend, Brenda, who lived in an apartment above the couple’s added that Kiddie’s mantra was “it is what it is,” something she has reflected on in dealing with his death. “John was the most gracious person I have ever known,” she said. Born and raised in Carterton, Kiddie followed the bright lights to Auckland at age 19, where he found a job at Farmers, allowing him to explore and revel in his love of crystal, silver and art. Friends shared that the women of Auckland’s eastern suburbs relied on his taste, while many husbands also appreciated his ability to find the perfect gift. Eventually as Katavich and Sheppard’s businesses began to expand, Kiddie came onboard fulltime in crucial back room roles. Family members described his as strong, noble and dignified, someone who loved to buy gifts and had a knack for finding the perfect present. His nephew shared that Kiddie was able to fulfil three wishes before he died; to go on a special cruise, celebrate his 65th birthday and receive his Gold Card and pension. Kiddie turned 65 just last Thursday. Messages of condolence to Tony Katavich can be sent to     Jacqui Stanford - 7th June 2012

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Thursday, 7th June 2012 - 5:03pm

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