Tributes to 'true gentleman' Kettering grocer John Cobley who has died aged 85

The former Rotarian and Round Table member managed the family business

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:40 pm

Tributes have been paid to a former Kettering grocer, Rotarian and Round Table member who died suddenly on March 7 - his 85th birthday.

John Cobley, who lived in Broughton, was the third generation of Cobleys to run T A Cobley and Sons in Dalkeith Place, Kettering, which was founded by his grandfather Thomas Arthur Cobley.

As well as being dedicated to managing the family business Mr Cobley was a devoted family man, sharing more than 61 years of happy marriage to wife Angela.

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John Cobley in the shop in Dalkeith Place

She said: "He was a very dedicated husband and a fantastic grandfather to his grandchildren.

"I supported him and he supported me. I've had hundreds of cards and they all say he was always smiling, smartly dressed and always had time for people.

"He loved his pets and he always had a dog biscuit in his pocket."

John Cobley was born at the family home in Pytchley Road, Kettering and spent a great deal of time in Wicksteed Park playing tennis.

Angela and John celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary

He attended Miss Pink's School - a private prep school - before passing his 11+ and joining Kettering Grammar School.

As one of the first intake at Kettering Technical College, he learnt office skills including touch typing.

To help him with the family business, John took up an apprenticeship in London and became skilled in roasting coffee - a commodity his family shop became known for.

After National Service as a clerk in the army, he returned to Kettering where he met his future wife Angela when she came in for a Wagon Wheel biscuit

John in the shop

He invited her to a party and, after a couple of years of courting, they wed on October 31, 1959, going on to have two children.

Retiring at the age of 53, after the stored closed in 1989, John and Angela threw themselves into volunteering actively in associations and groups, and spending time with their family.

His son Tim said: "Dad had a real passion for supporting his grandchildren's interests, on many occasions towing a horsebox or stock car trailer. He was a great father and grandfather. "

John is survived by wife Angela, children Sarah and Tim, daughter-in-law Jackie and two grandchildren, William and Amelia.

His funeral will be held at the Albert Munn Chapel at Kettering Crematorium on Monday, March 22 at 2.30pm.