A crowd of hundreds farewelled Sir Douglas Myers, the long-time chief executive of Lion Breweries and Lion Nathan.
More than 400 people gathered at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland to pay their respects to one of New Zealand’s most prominent businessmen.
Campbell Myers remembered his father as “the true lion king”.
“He was larger than life,” Myers said.
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Sir Douglas died in London on April 8 after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.
His funeral was held in London two weeks ago and his ashes were returned to New Zealand for the memorial service.
Family friend Reverend Warner Wilder, who led the service, described Sir Douglas as a visionary.
Sir Douglas was born in 1938 and came from a high-profile family. His grandfather, Sir Arthur Myers, was mayor of Auckland from 1905 to 1909.
He began his ascent of the corporate ladder in 1965, when he was appointed chief executive of Campbell & Ehrenfried. After a number of mergers, Lion Breweries was created, which went on to become Lion Nathan.
Long time friend, Peter Thomas described Sir Douglas as being generous, passionate and sincere as a businessman and in his personal relationships and friendships.
Sir Douglas was knighted in 2010 for for services to business and the community.
Friend and former executive director of Lion Nathan, Mike Smith said Sir Douglas was a special friend and great New Zealander.
“Douglas was the most influential man in my life,” Smith said.
“I don’t know what my life would have been without Douglas’ friendship and guidance.”
In 2008, Sir Douglas was diagnosed with bowel cancer and spent much of his later life fighting the disease. In 2013, he revealed that the cancer had returned fiercely and doctors told him he only had a matter of months to live.
Although Sir Douglas spent the last few years of his life in London, his love for New Zealand was celebrated in his tributes.
His daughter Jessica Kimmel spoke of her father’s honest and direct nature. She described him as an introvert who became a prolific public speaker.
“He never minced his words and he was quickwitted,” Kimmel said.
“For a man who didn’t need to be liked, he liked people and underneath the gruffness he was incredibly kind.”
Sir Douglas was also remembered for his philanthropy, setting up the Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship which awards Year 13 students $100,000 to study at Cambridge University.
He also gave millions of dollars to Auckland University’s Kenneth Myers Arts Centre, and supported the university’s Business School.
In her tribute, Kimmel said her father was always pushing people to do their best.
“Those who spoke to him left feeling like he had challenged them. He believed anyone is able to achieve anything,” she said.
Sir Douglas is survived by his wife Barbara, and three children from an earlier marriage Jessica, Laura and Campbell.