MR J. W. ELLIS, M.B.E , AETAT 64.
Mr J. W. Ellis, Mayor of Hamilton, passed away at his residence shortly before four o'clock this morning. H» had not been in robust health for some months past, but it was only within the past fortnight that he was confined to his room, suffering from carbuncles and diabetes. The illness took a serious turn, and considerable anxiety has been evinced ag to his condition during the past few days. On Saturday it was announced that there wa 8 very little hope, and since thru lie has gradually sunk, pasing away as above. The late .Mr Ellis was born in Guildlord (Surrey), and was brought out to New Zealand as a child of two or three years. He subsequently returned to» his native place to school, returning to New Zealand as a lad of 14. He commenced his commercial career in a stationer's shop in Auckland, and a few years later started business on his own account as a storekeeper at Matakotako, lx>tween Kawhia and Raglan, his clientele being almost exclusively Natives, and he did a large business in ; pig-dealing. He cwned a schooner, which run regularly between the Manukau, Raglan and Kawhia. He won the confidence and esteem of the Natives by his integrity and fair dealing, and he became the confidential adviser of the late King Tawhiao, the closest relationship existing between them up to the time of Tawhiao's death. In 1883 he started business as a storekeeper at Kihikihi, and later on opened branches at both Te Kuiti and (Jtorohanga.. It was at Kihikihi that he first became connected with the sawmilling industry, by taking an interest in a small mill established in that neighbourhood. He gradually developed this business, and acquiring the timber rights over large areas of Native bush at Manunui, Otorobanga and Mangapeehi, he was joined by Mr Burnand in working them, and thus was laid the foundations of the present company of Ellis and Burnand, Ltd., the headquarters of which were first situated in Otorohanga. In 1905 the company established joinery works in Hamilton, whence they also removed their head office, and the company has proved a very great factor in the progress of the town, being a large employer of labour. The late Mr Ellis took up his residence in Hamilton, coincident with the coining of his firm, and he at once actively identified himself with the life of the community. When the proposal for the extension of local government for Frankton was first mooted, Mr Ellis, who resided in the Frankton area, strongly advocated the fusion with Hamilton. The majority, however, was against him, and n separate Iwdy was formed, which Mr Ellis loyally supported, placing all his talents and wide experience at the service of the ratepayers in the furtherance of all schemes calculated to advance the interests of the town. When some three years ago the question of the amalgamation of the two boroughs took definite shape, he again championed the cause of union and was largely instrumental in securing its consummation. With the election of the first council to guide the destinies of the united l>oroiiLih, the opinion of all classes was unanimous that Mr Ellis should be the first Mayor. His personal inclinations were against his acceptance of tha office, but acceding to a widely expressed desire of the ratepayers, who represented that his acquiescence would do> much to allay any feeling of irritation that might remain between the parties, he consented to nomination, and was returned unopposed. Having accepted the office, he threw himself into the duties with characteristic energv, and though handicapped by ill-health, he did not spare himself, and t T, e citizens ;of the borough are much indebted to his mature judgment and experience in the furtherance of several important municipal undertakings. > During the progress of the war Mr 'Ellis closely identified himself with all patriotic movements, and gave generously of both and' labour in their promotion. His services in this connection were recognised by the. King, who recently appointed him a member of the Order of the British Empire. He was also a warm friend ,tb the returned soldiers, and one of riis latest public acts was the furtherance of a scheme for the establishment of a Returned Soldiers" Club in the town. The late Mr Ellis won the esteem and goodwill of all by his inteffrity and earnestness. Men might differ from his views, but they admired him for his thoroughness and uprightness and his championship of what he considered to be right. He exerted a wide influence amongst the natives, and the: esteem in which they as a people hold him is a monument to his character.
Deceased leaves a widow (fte married at Otorohanga at the age of 33 a close relative of Rewi, the principal c-hief of the Ngatimaniapoto tribe | and three suns and one daughter; who will have widespread sympathy in their bereavement.
; The funeral will take place «n Thursday at the Hamilton East cemetery, 'leaving his late residence. Lake Road, 'at 2 p.m.
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Waikato Times, Waikato Times, Volume 89, Issue 13829, 6 August 1918
OBITUARY Waikato Times, Volume 89, Issue 13829, 6 August 1918
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