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We regret to have to chronicle the death of Mr John Orr, for many' years one of the rco3t prominent of our business men. A. cablegram was received by Mr Eric Orr this morning stating that his father^ died at Syduoy last evening, uud on receipt of the news the grocory a.ud ironmongery establishments carried on undor the firm's title of John Orr and Gj. wme closed for !.ha day, while many of the business firms iti the town displayed their flags at halfmast. The deceased gentleman was born at Castledorg, County Tyrona,, in 1843, hi3 fatbur being a farmer. He attended school in Ireland uutil his eighteenth year and then cuno out; to Australia, remaining at Beech worth ..Victoria for a year or two. He then proceeded to Ounedin. where hfl mot his fallow townsman Mr Andrew Orr, who ha-1 arrived in tiia-Otago coital some time ptev;ously. In 18(53 Messrs F^hu and An-lrew Orr started a grocery business in Invercargill, and after conducting business there for over two years, the "Gold Rush" occurred on the West Coast. 'The firm therefore decided to remove their business t) the " Goldea West" and at the latter end of 1865 set sail for Hokifcika. The partners were unfortunate at the outset of their new venture, us they lost nearly everything they possessed owing to their veßael being shipwrecked crossing the bar at Hokitika. However, with characteristic pluck the two young Irishmen started in business as grocers, and in about two year3 attained a very fair measure of prosp9rity. At the end of this period, Mr Andiew Orr dissolved partnership with Vie deceased gentleman, and went back to Ireland and Mr John Orr went to Greymouth, where he started business on his own account. In 1876, Mr Andrew Orr returned to New Zealand and came to Ashburton •where he purchased the !abo Captain Coleman's grocery and drapery business. A. year later Mr John. Orr left Greymouth and joined his former partner again, remaining with him at Ashburton till 1832, when the partnership was dissolved, Mr John Orr taking over the grocery and ironmongery portion o£ the business which is still conducted undar his name. He at one time owned the business at Rakaia now carried on by Mr C. A. C. Hardy, M.H.E. ra. June, 19Q4), Mr John Orr retired from active business, handing over the establishment to two of his sons (Messrs Armar and Eric Orr), by whom it is at present carried on. Up to about a year ago the deceased gentleman's health wa3 fairly good, but he then caught a cold driving from his farm at Lismorp, and from thence onward his health declined. About a month ago he he decided ro try the effect of a change of air and wont to Sydney, intending, it is understood, if his health improved, to revisit the Old Country, whioh he had not sesu for some forty years, A fortnight ago his son received a wire statiog that his health had taken a turn for the worse, and Mr Armer Orr at once started for Sydney, probably arriving at about the time of his father's death. Mr John Orr was married in 1869, while on the West Coast, to Miss Alcorn, a sister of Mr R. Alcorn, of Ashburton, and leaves his widow, six sons, two of whom are married, and two daughters, to mourn their loss. Messrs Norman and Arthur Orr have a part share in their father's farm at Lismore, and red ie upon that property. The late Mr John Orr took alive interest iu Borough politics, and was for many years a Borough Cuncillor, and Berved one term as Mayor of Ashburton. He was a prominent member of the Baring Square "Wesleyan Church, and rendered the church much assistance at a titng when its finances were in a very precarious condition. He was largely instrumental in securing the present fine site for the church, and was for many years Society Steward and Circuit Steward. Although a man of keen instincts, those who know him bast admired in him many admirable qualities, and his probity and uprightness in his business dealings largely contributed to his commercial success. As a church member and as a citizen e? Ashburtoa he jvill be greatly missed, and his wide circle of friends and acquaintances will join with us in deeply regretting the "demise of one who assisted to a great extent in the 'development of Ashburton as a commercial centre.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6602, 22 June 1905

Word Count

MR JOHN ORR. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6602, 22 June 1905