Oct 3, 2015

Obituary: Joan Eady a member of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

Sophie Ryan
The New Zealand Herald
September 29, 2015
Couple die just days apart

Bruce Eady and wife Joan were married for 40 years

Bruce Eady and wife Joan were married for 40 years.
An Auckland couple's four-decade romance has ended with a heartbroken husband dying within a week of his wife.

Bruce and Joan Eady married in April 1974 and were together in Auckland City Hospital, lying side by side, when Mrs Eady died on September 14.

Mr Eady - founder of Jansen, the first manufacturer of electric guitars in New Zealand - died six days later. He was 90; his wife 85.

Son Brent Eady said his father was lost without his wife, and seemed to fade as soon as she died.

"They were extremely loving," he said.

"You can see it in the photographs of the later years - everywhere they went together, they were holding hands, they were supporting each other. He just wanted to take care of her.

"It is kind of a sad love story, and tragic."

Mrs Eady, who was Mr Eady's second wife and Brent and sister Frances' stepmother, suffered a fall that caused her to spend a month in hospital before her death.

"While she was in hospital my father didn't do so well. He was missing her ... I think at home he didn't care very well for himself," Brent said.

"He checked himself into hospital and he ended up side by side in the Awatea Ward with her."

Mrs Eady recovered before Mr Eady was ready to be discharged. She went into temporary care, but soon fell ill with a lung infection.

"It was just a small cough at first, but within 24 hours it was disastrous and she died," Brent said.

"When she died he just seemed to fade away. He said it a few times to me, but her death really knocked him. He wouldn't weep or cry, he just was resigned to the fact that she had gone."

Brent was making arrangements with his father for his stepmother's funeral. The night before Mr Eady died, he was getting ready to move into Brent's home in Te Atatu.

"That evening, he wanted me to take a lot of his belongings away, and I thought that wasn't good ... I had a bad feeling, and then of course I got the phone call on the Sunday morning. I was almost expecting it. He was just looking sad."

Mr Eady's life was filled with his music business, philosophy, family and sailing. The couple's shared interest in philosophy brought them together in 1970, Brent said.

Mrs Eady was a member of the Auckland Indian church Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, and had worked with many different businesses.

Frances Eady has flown to NZ with her mother from a village in the Himalayas, where the family have a home, for the funeral tomorrow at Purewa.

Jansen Invader electric guitarJansen Invader electric guitar made in New Zealand by Lewis Eady Ltd. Photo / Supplied

They were New Zealand's answer to the Fender Stratocaster.

Almost every Kiwi pop guitarist of the 1960s, and many bedroom and garage enthusiasts, had one - a Jansen Invader.

The electric guitars were first made more than 50 years ago by Auckland's Jansen Guitar Company, the brainchild of Bruce Eady.

Named after local pop group Ray Columbus and the Invaders, it soon became the biggest-selling guitar in New Zealand - even outstripping its famous American forerunner, the Stratocaster.

Mr Eady was born into a musical family, with his grandfather Lewis and great-uncle Arthur running rival Auckland musical instrument businesses while his father owned a piano company.

He worked there in the mid-1950s before training as a radar mechanic with the navy.

Mr Eady then set up his own business repairing radios and guitars.

Seeing a gap in the market, he started selling his own high-quality new electric guitars.

In 1958, Mr Eady - who counted Howard Morrison and Ray Columbus as friends - hired expert Nelson guitar maker Ray Simpson.

Using Nelson white birch and kauri beams recovered from demolished houses, they began making guitars modelled on the American Fender brand.

With the surge of Beatlemania, Jansen was soon making up to 50 guitars a month. Members of Kiwi band Split Enz worked in the factory before they hit the big time.

It was the Invader model, made from 1964 until 1979, that became the company's lasting legacy.

Originally, they retailed for £82 10s, including case.

Now, they are collectors' items, highly sought after all over the world. A collection of Jansen guitars is on display at Te Papa.

"I believe New Zealanders could achieve anything they wanted in industry if they tackled it with common sense," Mr Eady said in a February 1964 New Zealand Woman's Weekly article.

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