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OBITUARY.

HON JAMES KERR, M. L. Q. It is with profound grief our melancholy d ity to record the death of the Hon J. Kerr, a proprietor of this journal, at about 4.20 yesterday morning, at Westport. Taking advantage of the lull in the business of the Upper House while the Financial Statement is being discussed in the other Chamber, Mr Kerr started for his home in order to pass a few days in the quiet of his family circle, when, unhappily, he was seized" with a sudden attack of illness on the boat and had become so ill • by the time Westport was reached that it was deemed advisable, to put him ashore. There he received every care that could be afforded anywhere else. As if he had a pre^ monition of the . approaching end, he sent for his eldest son' and Mr§ E^eri'j both of whom were present to soothe his last hours, until the end came, and he calmly, passed away. By Mr Kerr's death his family have received a blow that plunged them into the profoundest depths' of grief; we have personally

lost the warmest and staunchest of friends; while the town of -Greymouth has lost a citizen whose passing will occasion the deepest sorrow generally. He was known and valued by every person in Greymouth, and regarded as a friend by all. Deceased was one of that none too numerous class of men who grow in public estimation the longer and better they are known. We very much doubt if the deceased gentleman ever made an enemy in the whole course of b/s life. He was one ot the least selfish or selfassertive of men. He was neither grasping nor ambitious — unless,perhap9 to deserve tho esteem and confidence of his fellows— and contented -'himself with doing hio duty manfully and hopefully in the sphere in which the fortune of life placed him. Whiledomeatically he was the kindest of husbands and the fondest) of fathers, who took more real pride in his home than in aught o'se that fortune might favor him with ; as a fellow-citizen he was a person to respect and place every confidence in. Where public interest was concerned he was ever amongst the foremost to exert himself in promoting the welfare of the town. In any question that agitated the public mind, his, advice and s»ss:sfance could always be relied upon. In any. and every movem'-nt that was calculated -to advance the prosperity of the place Mr Kerr was certain to be conspicuous and useful. In alniO3t every prominent mining or other venture got up to promote the industrial development of the place,' Me Kerr seldom failed to risk his quota in so far as his means would allow. Probably,. from a wordly sense, he may have had occasion to regret that his generous and spirited impulses carried him so far as they, did somes times, but no word of regret escaped him. He was thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the true colonist; he never looked behind him, and kept ever bravely confronting the future with high hopes, as if in the sublime confidence that no well-directed human effort is ever wasted, tint all would come right in the end ; that under the worst fate the land of his adoption was destined to profit by it, and become a country blessed as a home for future generations of his race. In all the relations of life, and in every sense of the word, Mr Kerr was a loyal soul. His word was sacred, and perhaps one of the most lasting reco lections of Mr Kerr by a great many will be the implicit re'iance every one placed in any promise he. might make ; and he was ever ready to do a kindness when it was in his power. Mr Kerr was born in Dumfries, Scotland, and like many more from all parts of the British Empire, ?as attracted to Australia in the expiring 50's. Unlike very many more of the old citizens of the town, we believe that he never bent to the practical work of gold mining, though he took a run up to the Ovens district during the time of the ' Wagunyah rush. Shortly afterwards the rush to New Zpaland set in, and Mr Kerr was drawn to Dunedin, where he occupied a position on the Otago Daily Times. It is evident that the spirit of adventure was as strong within, him as with the typical digger, for very soon a ter the diggings in this district were opened Mr Kerr and his partners began to get) under way with a newspaper and printing plant for Grey* mouth, where he arrived in the midst of all the hurly-burly of those exciting days. It will, therefore, be seen that deceased was one of the oldest identities of Greymouth — and indeed of the West Coast. Having put in 'his staked here, here he has remained ever since, and was almost as well known throughoubthe Coast as the paper he helped so firmly to establish. Du-ing his almost life-residence in Greymouth he ever playel a useful and h6norable part. He was at one time or another a member of every local body, and few public rnsu of the place, when their time comes, will be more missed than (he late James Kerr. He has been a member of the Education Board, and for some terms Chairman of that body ever since its creation un'erfehe Act. For years he held a seat in the Borough Conncil, and has been a member of the Harbor Board (and some time chairman) ever since it was caUed into existence. Some nine years ago , he. was called to the Upper House to repreaent "Westland, and when the first term expii ed he was renominated. He had fairly become entitled to this appointment from his long and useful career as a citizen of Greymouth, and since his translation to the dignified and august atmosphere of the " Lor^s," he was always active and earnest in .doing what he could to redress any individual.,grievancefor which his aid was solicited, and exerting himself for the good of the community and the district and the colony generally. He occupied a high position in the Masonic Brotherhood, bein-» at his de-ith Deputy "-District Grand Master of Weatland, Steward of the Grand Lod'j;e o£ England, and Past Master of tho Greymouih Lodge. Ho was a director of the Greymouth Gas Coy since the inception of the compmy. until it was purchased and taken over by the Borough. Among other public offices held by deceased he was an origiual Trustee of the racecourse reserve, Mr Johu "Walton being, now the only one lefc of the fist appointee?. Tue deceased, after having passed the be t of his days in Greymouth — -over 36 years, a fair lifetime iv itself — has lefc behind him a noble record of an honorable and wellspent life. Could gi eater praise be given anyone 1

(per press association.) Westport, August 25. The Hon Jas Ke r, who suffered from a severe attack of bronchial asthma while on his way to Grey mouth ~on Tuesday last, and was detained, at Westpoit, passed away at the lesidence of Mrs Hughes at 4.20 this morning. Mrs Kerr and Mr James Kerr, son of the deceased, were present at the 'irae the death took place. Deceased was uuconscious for several hours before the end came. He was a pioneer of the West Coast, and the founder of the Kumara Times, a pivrt i proprietor of the Grey Aim us, and a' prominent, figure in local politics, being, at various periods member and chairman of ihe Westland Education Board, Greymouth Harbor Board, a member of the Borough Council, etc. The body will' be taken -to Grey^ mouth this morning.

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Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Grey River Argus, Volume 57, Issue 10520, 26 August 1901

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1,303

OBITUARY. Grey River Argus, Volume 57, Issue 10520, 26 August 1901

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