Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown has expressed his sadness at the sudden passing of Councillor Rodger Letham.
Letham died on Saturday after he was admitted to Ashburton Hospital a week ago, suffering from a respiratory illness.
Brown said Letham was a strong and committed councillor, and he will be sorely missed.
“He has lived in this district for all his life and was a well-known farmer and then rural real estate agent before joining council.
“Rodger was a wise and experienced head around the council table and a respected colleague and friend.”
Letham was first elected to Council in 2019, and was chosen by the voters of the Western ward to represent them again this year in the Local Elections.
As a former pilot, he was keenly interested in things aviation and used that knowledge as a member of the Ashburton Airport Authority. As a Western ward councillor he also sat on the Methven Community Board.
He was also a member of the Rotary Club of Ashburton and the MSA Men’s Choir.
Brown said Letham’s family had been farming in the district for over 100 years and Rodger worked the farm his parents Selwyn and Ida bought in 1951.
“Selwyn was a long-serving Ashburton County Councillor in his day, before the county and borough councils merged, and Rodger was proud that he was also able to serve his community in the same way as his father.
“Rodger was a good man and he put his name forward for council because he wanted to give something back to a community that had served him well. We will miss him.”
“Our thoughts are with his wife Yvonne, and his immediate family at this time.”
Letham’s passing will trigger a by-election in the Western ward and details of that will be confirmed in the new year.