Passing of a Bus Legend

We’ve had a very sad few weeks in Orangeland, with the passing of an influential person in the history of Stray, Spaceships and really New Zealand tourism in general (Moa Trek, Contiki NZ, Leslie Coaches, Kiwi Experience..)  Neil’s father Leon Geddes, passed away on February 13th after working in the ‘Bus Garage’- the home to thousands of buses, campervans and of course busman’s stories, over the years.

Leon operated trips and provided buses to many companies over the years, and drove a school run right up until last year.  He helped with the original design of Spaceships campervans in 2004, and to quote Neil “I gave him very specific plans for my idea and he built a prototype which was different – and better – in every single way.  ‘Spaceships were born’.  We contracted him and the guys in the workshop to build 30, somehow that became 700!”

At Leon’s funeral, Taxi, Stray’s Operations Manager said “When I met Neil I thought wow, this guy can really talk – then I met Leon and he talked even more than Neil!  I’ve learnt so much from Leon about buses and drivers over the years, I’ll continue to use and pass on this valuable knowledge to our crew and other drivers.”

Leon will be sadly missed by all the Stray and Spaceships crew, he was a true legend as a father, father in law, bus driver, tour leader, teacher, engineer, friend and Kaumatua of Orangeland.

6 Comment

  1. Sorry for the passing of a real good man.

    I met Leon when I picked up the first Go East bus in Gordonton. He was covered in oil and looked like some scruffy mechanic and he just randomly came up to me and started talking. I actually thought he was one of the workers and I thought, “that was a cool guy”, then I found out it was Neil’s father, and then I thought “WOW, what a REAL Cool guy”….

    Sorry about your loss Neil – he seemed like a good man…

    Jason – Stray Go East

    1. Thanks for your comments everyone. He was a great and down to earth guy who had hands on involvement in much of what we have done – and a lot to say about everything that we did – so much that we have done. We will miss him.

  2. Hey Neil,
    Sooo so sorry to hear of your dads passing, I know how much of a part he played in the creation and expansion of Stray and spaceships… Very sad news… All my love xox

  3. Neil and the Geddes family, I’ve never heard the man but i’ve certainly heard about him from many many people, a true testiment. All the best Neil.

  4. Harley Keepa says: Reply

    Hi Neil and Jean,

    so sorry for your loss, Leon was an amazing man and always kicking us out of the bus shed, when we were suppose to be doing work hehe. All my love xox

  5. Hi Neil,

    So sorry to hear of Leon’s passing. Was just telling one of the Stray drivers what a genius Leon is when he told me the sad news. A true Legend and top top guy. All the best to Jean and the family.

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