Farewell to John
It has been announced that John Stoddard, the longest-serving member of the Rotary Club of Letchworth Garden City,has died after a short illness. He was 92.
For many years John has been known as 'Mr Letchworth'. He moved into the town in the late 1930s; served in World War Two during the D-Day landings; married wife Sheila in 1950 and turned Stoddard Manufacturing Company into a worldwide business success.
He served on the bench, as a local magistrate, for 25 years. He also spent a quarter of a century as Chairman of the Lister Hospital Appeal during which time it helped to raise more than £2million for vital equipment.
John was heavily involved in setting up the Letchworth Garden City Corporation in 1978 and was an active member of the congregation of the Free Church.
In 1995 he became a founder Governor of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation which has ensured the Garden City Estate be retained as an entity and the profits from it kept within the world's first Garden City for the benefit of that community alone.
Four years ago, in a special event for John hosted by broadcaster Pam Rhodes and attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Lady Verulam, tributes were paid to him from various Letchworth groups and organisations including St John Ambulance, Round Table, the Freemasons and, of course, his many colleagues in Rotary.
John joined the Rotary Club of Letchworth Garden City in 1958. During his 57 years with the club, he served as President (1968); was presented with Rotary's 'Paul Harris Fellowship' for outstanding service and later became the club's senior Honorary Member.
Two years ago he was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Letchworth. It was presented to him by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
His funeral will be at 11am, at the Free Church, Letchworth on Thursday August 20th, 2015.
Picture: John Stoddard MBE, in October 2014, at the 90th Anniverary of the Rotary Club of Letchworth Garden City being granted its' Foundation Charter.