John (Frank Leonard) Stall was born British, spent his life Australian and died Thai last month at the young(ish) age of 76. It was not just his incredible life which caused me to reflect; but his passing jolting me into the present – and my own advanced years of 83!
In this obituary, I have called on the sharp memory of his lovely daughter, Jum, and freely interpose my own recollections with those of Jum.
John was born on April 17, 1942 at Retford, Nottingham- United Kingdom. In the 1950s his family relocated to Perth, Western Australia where he no doubt gained his Aussie accent, a unique sense of humour and a concise view of many of the ridiculous aspects of life – EVERYWHERE. (From experience, I can safely say, that one MUST have these two latter tributes, to survive Australian “culture”).
His main contribution to his adopted country was enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy in the submariners service, for which he earned a number of medals and awards in regional conflicts.
Next stop was Thailand, where he established a travel company called Pattaya Ocean Tours and chartered one of the rare Chinese junks ever seen in Pattaya waters. Married to Wunwelai Jiamsungtong (Pang), John and Pang established the Pattaya Sailing Center which imported Prindle Cats from the USA, boat gear and Lasers from the UK and Australia.
The pioneering spirit took over and John established (and helped build) one of the first resorts, the Tradewinds Cottages on Samui’s prime piece of real estate, at Chaweng Beach. Now, some decades later, Chaweng looks like Waikiki Beach in Honolulu – or, worse – Coney Island.
During his 10 years’ sojourn at Samui, to further promote his beloved island John co-established the highly-successful Samui Regatta, sponsored children’s (Optimist) events and training, and volunteered to provide help to people of Samui and, earlier, at Koh Larn in Pattaya.
I always enjoyed sessions with John, covering a range of topics and an equal range of wines, over the Royal Varuna bar. He was exceptionally well-read and hilariously funny in his ridiculing so-called prominent figures, politicians … and the rest. No public figure could escape his irony.
He even chided me, once, for using the expression John is a “Stal(l)lwart” in the Pattaya sailing arena. That comment cost me a glass of wine and a huge laugh.
Life eventually caught up with John who had never slowed down – on land or at sea – and a dreaded metastasis cancer finally took him from us.
John leaves his lovely, good-natured wife, Pang, his equally-lovely daughter Jum and his son Patrick, to carry on the Stall tradition.
Jum said that the scattering of John’s ashes took place on Sunday August 5th at the Lamtien Pier of the Royal Thai Navy Base in Sattahip. All RVYC friends were invited for the service.
Farewell, John old buddy. You have avoided many a reef in your life’s journey, read the wind well and known when to tack on life’s numerous wind-shifts!
Now you will forever be part of the seas you loved so well and be a fond memory for those of who remain on shore.