An Ilkeston man who defied his teachers’ expectations to build a successful construction business is to be buried on Friday.
John Windmill, of Windmill Builders, died at the age of 66 on April 1, while travelling in the United States. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two grandchildren.
Son-in-law Mick Windmill-Jones said: “From humble beginnings he established the company and worked nationwide, but he also identified disused and unwanted buildings that required renovating in and around Ilkeston.
“John was a local man who remembered his roots and loved Ilkeston and to help improve the general environment and increase investment in the area.”
Born on May 19, 1950, John grew up in Ashdale Road, and was a school friend of actor Robert Lindsay, who wrote in his autobiography of their plan to build a moon rocket.
Early in his career, he tried his hand across the trades, and also ran the White Cow pub.
John dreamed of flying and becoming a pilot, even though his teachers told him he would never achieve it. Undeterred, as business grew, John found time to gain his helicopter licence and buy a motorhome to tour US air shows.
Mick said: “John was an inspiration to family and friends and he will be sadly missed.”
The funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church, Ilkeston,on Friday May 5, at 1pm, followed by burial at Park Cemetery. A wake will take place at Ilkeston FC from 3pm, and a celebration of life from 5pm at One Windmill Farm, off Cat and Fiddle Lane, Dale Abbey.