THE LATE MR GILLIES.
The large number of his fellow-citizens who this afternoon paid the last tribute of esteem to Mr, J. L. Gillies by follow ing his remains to the Northern Cemetery was a pioof of the appreciation in which he .was held by the community among whom he lived and labored .so many years. It is given to few men in public positions, through a long career (a great portion, of which was political), to maintain without a shadow of reproach or even of suspicion the high character which distinguished the late Mr Gillies. He was essentially a strong man, holding pronounced views, a keen politician, but always actuated by principle, so that those to whom he was most vehemently opposed could not but respect him and admire his many valuable qualities of head and heart. To the present generation Mr Gillies has been almost exclusively known as the secretary of the Harbor Board, and how energetically' he fulfilled the duties of his office in the face at times of much discouragement and difficulties, which well-nigh seemed insuperable, is a matter of history’. The administrative, and especially’ the financial, ability which he displayed surprised even his closest friends who had known him from his youth and taken pride in his rapid progress, from the comparatively’ humble Bnice farmer to the Speaker’s Chair of the Provincial Council and the representation of Wai.kouaiti in the New Zealand Parliament. In regard to the services of the late secretary to the Otago Harbor Board, it would be impossible to speak in terms commensurate with their value. He has, indeed, been the staff upon which successive Boards have leaned ; whilst never arrogating to himself any other position than that of. a faithful officer. He was endued with an exalted sense of duty, which never allowed him to take his ease or rest whilst there was work to be done. Even when suffering from the disease which proved fatal, and while there was little or no hope of recovery, he took a vital interest in the business of the Board, and almost to the last gave valuable assistance and advice. His magnum opus as secretary was the extrication of the Board from impending financial embairassment by elaborating and successfully carrying out the scheme for the consolidation of the loans, which has saved many thousands of pounds, and recouped over and over again the aggregate amount he received as salary. All those who had business with Mr Gillies in his official capacity have recognised his quick intelligence, his unfailing courtesy and urbanity, and will, we are sure, deeply regret that in the plenitude of his faculties, and when years of further usefulness might have seemed in the natural course to have been before him, he should have been stricken down.
Apart altogether from the office Mr Gillies so worthily filled, Otago and Dunedin have in his death to deplore the loss of a good citizen, an enlightened member of the community, a man of large heart . and generous sympathies, ever active in the cause of charity, as witne*ss the Kaitangata Relief Fund, practically initiated and administered by him. He leaves his family the invaluable heritage of an honorable name, and it must needs be some consolation in their affliction that they have the heartfelt sympathv of the people.
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THE LATE MR GILLIES., Evening Star, Issue 10432, 29 September 1897