Meet the John Howard – A Chance Meeting

A chance meeting with his namesake, the former Prime Minister provided club member John Howard with a lifelong memory.

Mr Howard has been a club member for more than 55 years, but it was an encounter with the long-term Prime Minister which provided him a story for the ages.

“I was at a dinner with him many years ago at the Leagues Club and I handed him my business card,” Mr Howard said. “He turned it over and wrote on it ‘To John Howard, from John Howard’.

“I still have it somewhere. There were a couple of hundred people at the dinner and he went around and introduced himself. He was a thorough gentleman.”

Both Howard’s are fanatical Dragons fans. Sharing a name with someone in the public eye also provided Mr Howard plenty of nicknames from his friends.

“PM,” Mr Howard said. “Or the right honourable”. Mr Howard is in his second stint as the Bowling Club’s treasurer and the 84-year-old hits the greens at least once a week.

“The club has been terrific over the years,” Mr Howard said. “I played social bowls but then my wife (Bobbie) passed away and I started to play bowls once or twice or week to fill in (time). I was meeting people again. Peter Black (director) talked me into becoming treasurer again.”

Mr Howard spent the bulk of his life living in the St George area but moved to Kirrawee shortly after his wife of 49 years died.

He worked for 30 years at the Bank of NSW, before owning a paper shop in Kogarah Bay. He retired after 16 years as secretary-manager of Kogarah RSL.

“We used to have good floor shows but they’ve gone by the wayside now,” Mr Howard said. “I played cricket for Kogarah RSL and we played against the Leagues Club. We did alright, but that was many years ago. I was an opening batter.

“It was all fairly well sport minded, not sledging like we have today. We didn’t get into any fights or arguments.”

Mr Howard has a son Paul and two granddaughters.