Obituary – Chris Browne

Chris Browne – 1947 to 2011

Most of our members will know Chris Browne and were shocked to learn of his sudden death 20 January 2011, aged 63.
John Robertson, Executive Chairman, with Inframax Construction Limited gave this eulogy at his funeral service:
“Occasionally, within a community, within an industry, within a company, someone quite special emerges. They grow into a master of their profession, a person to look up to by those who work with them, a leader in their industry.

  • As they engage in their work, they do so with energy, running to achieve their ends.
  • As they run to achieve their ends, they do so with passion, driven by a belief in their task.
  • And as they drive to complete their task, they do so with finesse, supported by a team that admires and respects them.

Chris Browne, our colleague at Inframax, was such a person. His passion was infectious, his knowhow quite extraordinary, and his work ethic beyond question.
But Chris was more than a passionate person, hard worker, and dedicated manager. The word genius was awarded to him by a member of our company when he reflected on Chris’ life the other day.
Frankly, Chris was a genius. He was Dux of Piopio District High School in 1963. He was the top athlete, and has never stopped running since. He knew the geology of this area better than anyone. He was an engineer and electrician. He could design machines and build crushers. He was a mechanic and gunsmith, and someone with commercial nous.

And importantly, he knew what he believed in. He did not compromise his principles. A devoted Christian, he valued his extended family, and condemned those who tried to cheat him or the company.
Chris began his association with quarrying back in the 1960’s, in the private sector, and then as an employee of the Waitomo District Council. As Quarry Manager of Inframax and its predecessor organisations, he designed and built Waitomo’s and some of Ruapehu’s quarrying and crushing operations into a highly efficient and successful production unit.
No one knew quarrying better than Chris – certainly not locally, and many would say nationally. But one of the special parts of Chris’ character is that he never let the privilege of his knowledge turn into arrogance.
Chris could be an explosive character at times, usually out of frustration or impatience because the rest of us did not understand or could not keep up with his pace. He was never a nasty person. And once you had earned the stripes to become part of his team, he stood up for you with vigour. He was a good man.
There are many from Inframax who learned their trade from Chris, and some who have now lost their boss. They grieve with family, for they and the company have lost a father figure.
We have also lost a part of our company. We will not replace Chris, for our Chris, the man of so many talents, is not replaceable. But his legacy will live on, through the quarrying division of the company. New quarry leadership and strength will emerge, guided by the spirit of Chris from above.”

Chris was a long-standing member of the The Institute of Quarrying and was always recognised as someone who could be relied on for sound advice on all aspects of quarrying and machinery matters.

We express our sincere condolences to his family.

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