Obituary for Tristan da Cunha islander Lars Repetto, who passed away 31st October 2021, aged 83.

Obituary for Lars Repetto

By Trina Repetto

Lars Cecil Anthony Repetto, fondly known as 'Lardy', sadly passed away on the 31st of October 2021. Lars was born to parents Joseph and May Repetto on the 7th of December 1937.  His name was chosen by members of the Norwegian expedition team who had arrived at Tristan the same day.

During the early years of his life, Lars worked at the Lobster factory at Big Beach until the volcanic eruption in 1961 forced the islanders to evacuate to the UK, where they stayed at Pendell Camp, in Surrey. Whilst in England, Lars worked at Totton Motors and Fawley Power Station. On returning to the island Lars was employed as an accountant for Tristan Investments (now Ovenstone) until his retirement.

On the 20th of January 1962, Lars married Trina Glass at Bletchingley Church in Surrey, where they shared their wedding ceremony with another Tristan couple, Benny and Sylvia Green.

Above: Lars in his younger days

Right: Lars and Trina on their wedding day at Bletchley Church in Hampshire, England.

In 1962, Lars was one of 12 islanders who returned to Tristan as a Resettlement Survey Party, taking on the monumental task of preparing the island for the arrival of the rest of the community in 1963. Lars was a deeply religious man, and led church services for the group during their time on the island. He also kept extensive diaries recalling the hardships, the spirit of friendship, support and fun that these men shared.

An excerpt from his 1962 diary reads:

"I washed some clothes and made bread for breakfast, tomorrow being Christmas Day. I had a busy evening ironing the boy's shirts and trousers for Christmas Day. Tomorrow we are having the hymns 'Holy Father in thy Mercy', and 'O Littletown of Bethlehem'. Church will be at 8.30am as usual."

Lars continued to keep a diary each year for the rest of his life, and was often called upon for information about the island's history. These diaries hold dear memories and will be treasured by his family.

Lars was a loved and respected member of the Tristan community, serving as an Island councillor from 1973-1976 and 1979-1982, and was a key member of the Anglican church, serving as a voluntary lay minister for 47 years. Along with his fellow lay ministers Eddie Rogers and Carlene Glass Green, Lars led services, conducting many of the weddings, baptisms, and funerals of the island community.

Some years ago when boats got stuck on Nightingale Island for a month due to bad weather, Lars held services every Sunday on the rocky shore, praying for favourable weather to travel home.

Lars' faith was an extremely important part of his life, and he served the church until he was too unwell to continue, and even then, he would ask his son Andre to drive him down so he could read the lesson or to be in the congregation. On December 28th, 2019, Lars' dedication to the Anglican Church, and to the wider Tristan community was recognised with the award of the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Everyone who knew 'Lardy', knew that he was never far away from his beloved Massey Ferguson Tractor, which he kept in immaculate condition over the last 39 years. He would often ride his Tractor out to the potato 'Patches', a place he loved for its "Peace and Quiet" as he would say. Lars enjoyed days spent fishing at the Harbour, tending his flower garden, and listening to his country music. His favourite song ' My Forever Friend' by Charlie Langsborough was played at his funeral.

Lars enriched the lives of all who had the pleasure to meet him, and his memory will live on through those who loved him. He is survived by his wife Trina, brothers Peter and Gerald, sisters Tordy, Yvonne, Joy and Maureen, children Debbie, Paul, and Andre, and grandchildren Megan, Chantelle, and Katie.

Lars will be remembered for his kindness and compassion for others, his sense of duty, and his wonderful sense of humour and beaming smile. He represents a fine example of what makes Tristan the caring, welcoming place that it is, a place that is truly unique just like him.

Right: Lars enjoying a day out to the potato patches on the west of the island on his tractor