A painful feeling was caused in Lyttelton yesterday evening by the sudden death of Mi* John Joyce, who, for the last twelve years, has represented in Parliament the district, of which the port forms a part, and who was a candidate for the suffrages ol the voters of the district at the forthcoming election. It had, for a considerable time, been recognised by Mr Joyce's friends that his health was not satisfactory, but no one expected that his ailments would terminate in death, and least of all, in death- so sudden. Mr Joyce himself was unaware how seriotfg was the condition of his health, and, indeed, it was not until Thursday night that he had reason for apprehension. On that' night he was giving an address at Spreydon, when, as he afterwards said, lie felt something " give way " in his chest. He felt, ' for a time, as if he could not go on with his speech, as his voice failed, but he recovered sufficiently to resume, and concluded his address successfully. Yesterday morning he was so unwell that he consulted Dr Pairman, who, on examination, found that he was suffering from serious heart trouble, and told him that his condition was more serious than he supposed, and advised him to give up the election.. Mr Joyce replied that he would like to give another address next week, and that he would, after that, leave it alone. He asked if he might go to his office, but the doctor replied that he had better not, and that he ought to stay at home and rest. This he promised to do. Dr Pairman prescribed for him, and gave 'a certificate to the effect that the state of Iris health required him to refrain from public speaking for a time. This was necessary, as Mr Joyce was to have addressed a meeting at Willowbank last night. In the afternoon he went to bed, and received treatment to relieve the pain in his chest, of which he complained. He ,became easier, and in the evening, about seven o'clock, listened with interest to the news of the South African Aval-, which a member of his family read to him from the evening paper. He then said : " I will have a sleep now, and if the doctor comes, let him know that lam very much easier." Dr Pairman had, it should be said, arranged to call on him about 8 p.m. Mr Joyce then appeared to go to sleep. About ten minutes to eight o'clock one of his daughters went into his room, and saw, by the expression of his face, that something was seriously wrong with him. She at once fetched Dr Pairman, who was soon at the house, only to find that his patient was dead. The news of Mr Joyce's death spread rapidly through Lyttelton, and caused a profound sensation. Sorrow was expressed by persons of all classes and shades of opinion that one so well-known and so appreciated should have been cut off in what was, apparently, the very midst 'of a vigorous and useful career. A considerable number of people gathered around the house of the deceased gentleman ; and on all sides were heard expressions of keen regret at his untimely death, and of sympathy with the members of his family, who during their residence in Lyttelton have acquired general respect and esteem.
Mr Joyce was sixty years of age, having been born in Cornwall in 1839. He was the only son of Mr Michael Joyce, and went with his father to Victoria* in the early fifties. Mr Michael Joyce was sergeant of water police at WilUamsftown, and hjs son, as a lad, served in the Maggie cutter, which did police duty in Corio Bay, Geelong. On attaining marihood Mr John Joyce left the police, and became owner and captain of a schooner trading between Melbourne, Schnapper Point, Mount Eliza" and Arthur's Seat. After about twto years he sold put, and joined the water police, of which tine headquarters was the Sir Harry Smith, blocksihip, anchored in Hobson's Bay. Shortly after the discovery of gold in Otago, the Provincial Government decided to inaugurate a water police force at Port Chalmers, and applied to the Victorian Government for a suitable officer to organise it. Mr J. Joyce was selected, went to Port Chalmers, organised the force, and for several years acted as its sergeant. A vaicancy occurring for the office of clerk of the Court at Port Chalmers, where tihe late Mr T. A. Mansford was then Magistrate, Mr Joyce applied for and obtained the position. He acted in that capacity for a few years, and then resigned in 1868 in order to article himself to Messrs Howarth, Hodgkins and Howarfh, solicitors, of Dunedin. He successfully passed his examinations in 1J573, and became a bai'rister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and commenced practice at Port Chalmers. He assisted in establishing the firm of Joyce and Adaans, with which he w.is connected for several years. In 1879 he removed to Christ-church, and set up in business on his own account. He resided at Syderiham, ■where he took an active part- in local affairs, became a member of the Borough Council, and was elected to the office of Mayor of the borough, a position which he "held for two years. He also took considerable interest in the volunteer movement, and when the old Syderiham Rifles were established, he yras appointed their captain. He was afterwards promoted to tlie rank of major, but l'esigned after some years' service. After a few yeara' residence in Sydenham he removed to Lyttelton, where he' speedily, took a prominent place in public affairs. He became a member of the Lyttelton Borough Council, and in 1887 he was returned to Parliament for the district, then called Akaroa. He was three times re-elected, on each occasion defeating his opponents by substantial majorities. In Parliament he was a consistent amd staunch supporter of the Liberal Party. He was appointed chairman of the " M to Z " Public Petitions Committee, frequently acted as Chairman of Committees in the absence of Mr Guinness, and occasionally filled the Speaker's chair in place of Sir G. M. O'Rorke. In these positions he exhibited great capacity, and gained the respect of all parties in the Hou^e.
Mr Joyce was a member of several public bodies; including the Lyttelton Harbour Board and the North Canterbury Board of Education, of both of which he held the position of chairman. He took a lively in-' terest in the Lyittelton regatta, of which he was commodore for several years. At the last meeting he was chosen, vice- commodore of the regatta to be held on New Year's Day. He was a ,prominent member of the Masonic fraternity. A meeting of the Regatta Commititee was to have been (held last night, but the intelligence of the death of Mr Joyce caused it to be postponed.
Mr Joyce married a daughter of the late Mr C. Coates, and leaves, besides his widow, six daughters and four sons. One daughter is married to Mr T. G. Asehmsin, first assistant master at the Normal School, and another to Mr George Field, of Taranaki. His eldest son is well-known as the commander of the Lytt<?lton Naval Antillery, and his second son is a member of the New Zealand contingent now serving in South Af inca.
The funeral is to take place at Lyttelton on Sunday afternoon.
Mr L. Joyce, son of the deceased, was, on account of his father's illness, addressing a meeting in the Willowbank Methodist School, when he received a telegram, announcing the sad event. The meeting was at once brought to a- close, and general expressions of sympathy were expressed with the family in their bereavement. Mr L. Joyce immediately returned home. Mr George Laurenson, another candidate for the Lytlteßbon seat, was addressing a meeting at Opawa when he received the intelligence o? Mr Joyce's dearth. He a* once stopped M 3 address, announced Mhe> sad news, and moved — " That this meeting desires to express its respectful and heartfelt sympathy with the family of Mr John Joyce in tihedr sad bereavement, and its sense of 'the loss sustained by the community through the dearth of one of its most prominent public men.'-'- He said he .was .to* amah overcome
'o' adequately express his feelings .at the sad occurrence. He would, however, at *r.ce close the meeting. Mr Webster seconded the motion, which was carried ivna'iii.nously. The meeting then ended. At the meeting at Knightstown addressed by the three Opposition candidates yesterday evening, Mr C. Lewis, in an j nouncing the sudden death of Mr J. Joyce, said that he had sat in the House of Representatives with the late member for Lyttelton for the last four years, and tnough I'hey differed widely in their political views, nothing had passed between 'them whioh either had reason to regret. He could only say that he was sincerely soiry for Mr Joyce's death. Mr M. Donnelly said thai, probably, he had known Mr Joyce longer than anyone present. He had known him for over a quarter of a -century, and Irs memory of Mr Joyce dated back to the. early days of Otago. Mr Donnelly jedned with Mr Lewis in his ; expressions of regret at Mv Joyce's death
Just at the conclusion of his meeting last night, news was conveyed to Mr Ccllins of the sudden dea-Hh of Mr John Joyce, and at the request of Mr Collins, the meeting at puce, terminated. A motion, requesting the Cliaarnian to forward a letter of condolence to Mr Joyce's relatives, was carried unanimously.
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OBITUARY., Star, Issue 6658, 2 December 1899
OBITUARY. Star, Issue 6658, 2 December 1899
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