John Corboy

December 28th, 2007 at 3:57 pm by David Farrar

One of my old friends, John Corboy, from Otago University, and Carrington Hall, passed away (leukamia related) a few days ago and his funeral was in Auckland today.  Sadly I couldn’t make it up for the service or the wake.

I think John is the first of my friends to die of natural causes. All too many from accidents and a couple of heart breaking suicides, but the first “natural” one.

John had a superb sense of humour, and the memory I will always have is the correspondence between us after he was co-editor of the hostel magazine one year.

In the magazine they did a full page sketch of me, taking the mickey out of some of my habits, and labelling various parts of me, including pockets full of money “embezzled from CHSA”.  It was all in good humour and I laughed louder than anyone.

However I can never resist the urge to play mind games with my friends.  There were around five co-editors of the magazine, so in December of that year, a 20 year old DPF drew up some impressive looking (but fake) legal papers suing the five co-editors for defamation, and posted them out from a fake lawyer I invented.

Three of the five editors figured I was taking the piss, but phoned up just in case to check I wasn’t really suing them.  A fourth had the misfortune to be overseas for three months and when she got home she found her parents, who of course has been handling her mail, had already hired lawyers to defend the lawsuit.  She immediately worked out it was me taking the piss, and thought it hilarious.  Her parents were less happy with the costs they had incurred!

John though had the best response.   He responded to my fake lawsuit from the fake lawyer with a claim of temporary insanity supported by an impressive report from a fake psychiatrist.  His fake psychiatrist and my fake lawyer exchanged a few more letters until we got bored 🙂

I wish I had had more friends like John – we must have spent hours doing our fake letters just for the thought of the amusement it would cause when received by the other person.  Farewell and rest in peace.

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7 Responses to “John Corboy”

  1. sean14 (52 comments) says:

    I wish I could say I knew someone (even in the blogosphere) who hadn’t been touched by cancer, but sadly that is not the case. Go well David.

    Cheers, Sean.

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  2. Ryan Sproull (7,975 comments) says:

    Sorry for your loss.

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  3. thehawkreturns (144 comments) says:

    Small world DPF.. I didn’t know John but I was talking to one of the funeral mourners this afternoon!! Sounds like he was a really determined focussed guy.

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  4. Fost (92 comments) says:

    I also knew John through a mutual friend. It is very sad to read that he finally lost his battle with cancer. I also found him to be a real genuine person, with a great sense of humour.

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  5. boomtownprat (253 comments) says:

    I am very saddened by this news. I worked with John ten years ago. He was one of the most focused, positive, hard working professionals I have known. And he was very, very funny.

    His list of personal and professional achievements then was an example to all, and I know it has only increased greatly since.

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  6. Susan Corboy (1 comment) says:

    Thank you for sharing this great example of John’s humour. I will add this to John’s life story I am compiling for our son who has just turned one.

    At times John’s humour was very dry and dark and not everyone who met him “got it”.

    He truly was a wonderful man who had achieved so much in his short 38 years and he will be missed by many people.

    If you want – when I get a copy I can email you the Eulogy from his funeral.


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  7. Brian Tither (1 comment) says:

    I am a 2nd cousin of John’s. I found this website a long time after John passed away. I saw his mother Mary and father Kevin a couple of weeks ago at my mother’s 70th birthday. Mary reminded me that it would have been John’s 40th birthday on December 8th this year. I see that tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of his passing. Most of my memories about John are of the times we spent together when we were kids when my family used to spend a lot of time with his family, particularly on the farm that his parents still live on in Te Awamutu. I also saw a fair bit of him when he was doing the clinical part of his studies in Wellington after finishing his studies at Otago. This was at a difficult time for me because of my experiences with the health system in the years up to then which were not too happy for me. I then heard that he got sick at the end of 1998 after he had moved to Auckland and some time after that I heard that he went into remission. The next time and last time I saw John was in 2003 at the funeral of a great aunt of ours who passed away at the age of 96. The great thing about this aunt was that she had no children but was none the less very close to all her nephews and neices and therefore was a lynchpin for us all to know each other really well, which was how I knew John so well despite us being 2nd cousins. Another thing about this aunt was that she told us lots of stories about he childhood and about the childhood of all of us. I got the impression from her that the relationship between her two oldest brothers John’s grandfather and mine was much like the relationship that John and I had. Like my grandfather, who didn’t get to John’s grandfather’s funeral, I couldn’t get to John’s, who only lived to about half the age of both our grandfathers. Sometimes it is hard to look past the fact that John didn’t live as long as our grandfathers or indeed our great-aunt’s. Nonetheless I feel that I can celebrate his life as much a triumph as that of our great aunt’s because he extended his life almost a decade after he first got sick and therefore lived to get married and have a son who I feel sure has inherited his legacy. I hope somehow this message comes to them.

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