SIR JAMES COATES. DEATH IN HIS 85TH YEAR. A DISTINGUISHED BANKER. A long ami notable life was brought to a close with the death at his home in St. Stephen's Avenue, Parncll, last evening of Sir James Coates, in his 85th year. Formerly general manager of the National Bank of New Zealand, Sir James, whose tall figure was well known in Auckland, was one of the most distinguished personalities in the Dominion's banking history. A few days ago he contracted a chill, which later developed into bronchial pneumonia. Sir James was born in St. George's Bay and belonged to a family which has been associated with the city of Auckland from its earliest days. His father, whoso name was also James Coates, was associated with the founder of this city and the first Governor of New Zealand, Captain William Hobson.
The family was closely connected with the Church of England, a brother of Sir James, Mr. Hobson Coates, being the. first child baptised in the old St. Paul's Church. Sir James was educated at the Church of England Grammar School and St. John's College, and always displayed a keen interest in finance. In 1860 he entered the service of the Bank of New South Wales in Auckland. After a term at Thames in the heyday of the gold fields. Sir James accepted the position of teller of the National Bank of New Zealand in Auckland. He became accountant in 1870 and manager in ISB4. Work During the War. Later, Sir James was appointed general manager of the bank and he visited England to consult with the London directors on the policy of the bank in the Dominion. Returning to New Zealand, Sir James transferred the main office from Dunedin to Wellington. In 1914 he became a director of the bank at its head office in London. During the Great War he was identified with several organisations working in the interests of colonial soldiers. " As a banker. Sir James, who was knighted in 1922, attained great pro-minence-and was adviser to a number of administrators of New Zealand. He was especially prominent during the banking crisis of 1894, when Australian banks were closing their doors. Before it took action in regard to the Bank of New Zealand Share Guarantee Act, the Seddon Government was fortified' by the counsel of the .leading bankers of the country, foremost among them being Sir James. When the Bank of New Zealand came partially under Government control, he was offered the distinction of being its first president, but he declined.
After retiring from the , bank, Sir James, who became a follow of the .Bankers' Institute of London- in 1899, joined the directorate of the South British Insurance Company, a position he held till his death.
During the war years he worked very hard in the interests of New Zealand soldiers in the Old Country. He was treasurer of the New Zealand War. Contingent Association and the New Zealand representative on the executive committee of King George and Queen Mary's Club for Overseas Forces. When he was knighted in 1022, the honour gave great satisfaction to his hosts of friends. Prominent Athlete. As a young man Sir James, who was a man of splendid physique, gained some note as an athlete. He played football in the Dominion long before the game had been regularised under the rules of Rugby. One of his proudest achievements was defeating Tim O'Connor, then champion of the colony, at putting the shot. He was also a keen cricketer, and was one • of the founders of the Auckland Cricket Association. He retained a lifelong affection for his old school, and in 1928 founded a classical 'scholarship at .King's College, which has long been regarded as its successor. Sir James, who was unmarried, was the last survivor of his family. Two brothers, Mr. Hobson Coates and Mr. A. J. L. Coates, of Auckland, died many years ago. His sister, Mies Lavinia ■ Coates, 0.8. E., shared his home in Wellington and Auckland for many years until her death in 1929 at the age of Bii. Mrs. E. 11. B. Milsom and Mrs. R. 'M. Tolluirst, of Auckland, are nieces, while Mr. R. J. Coates, of Auckland, Mr. N. W. Nelson, of Wellington, and Mr. W. H. Nelson are nephews. "Great Value to Community." In announcing Sir James' death to the Diocesan Synod laet night, Archj bishop Averill moved that the synod | place on record its appreciation of Sir James' public services and send a message of sympathy to his relatives. "This is fitting because Sir James Coates was a very distinguished citizen of this country and a faithful churchman. We should express our appreciation of his very noble public service, especially in England during the war, of his upright character, and his great value to the community generally," said the Archbishop. The motion was carried, all present standing. A funeral service will 'be conducted at St. Mary's Gathedral, Parnell, at 2 p.m. to-morrow.
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NOTABLE LIFE., Auckland Star, Volume LXVI, Issue 242, 12 October 1935
NOTABLE LIFE. Auckland Star, Volume LXVI, Issue 242, 12 October 1935
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