New Zealand Law Society - Derrick McLeod, 1925 – 1991

Derrick McLeod, 1925 – 1991

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The son of high country sheep farmers, Derrick McLeod was born in Timaru in 1925. He attended Timaru Boys’ High School where he was a member of the 1st Cricket XI which he captained for two years, and played representative cricket at sub-union level. In his final year at school he passed three LLB units.

Leaving school at the age of 18 he joined the RNZAF, later transfering to the Fleet Air Arm of the British Royal Navy where he trained in Seafires – the naval version of the Spitfire. The war ended just prior to his posting to join the British Fleet in the Pacific and he returned to New Zealand on his 21st birthday to commence practice as a law clerk in Wellington. He completed his LLB at Victoria in 1948 and the following year gained an LLM from Otago University.

In 1950 he purchased a small practice in Hamilton, which expanded to include five partners and eventually merged with Norris Ward, where he continued to practise until his last illness.

In 1956 he married Lorna and the couple went on to produce two sons. In his private life Derrick was known for his special acts of generosity to friends in need – acts which extended to financial support in cases. He was also viewed by friends as a man who clearly identified his priorities and ordered his life to accommodate these.

In the professional sphere he served for six years on the Hamilton District Law Society Council and on various sub-committees. He chaired the Uncles Committee since its inception and was responsible for the Society’s archives.

A cherished and consuming pastime – at least in the era when affordable – was his interest in classic cars and throughout his life he owned and reluctantly parted with a great many including a Bentley (1925), Daimlers (1933 and 1952), a Singer Monte Carlo (1933) and a Cord 812 (1936).

In addition to classic cars Derrick McLeod had a love for antiques which he spent many hours collecting and restoring.

He is survived by his wife and sons and a grand daughter born just months before his death.

This obituary was first published in LawTalk 342, 11 February 1991, page 10.

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