PIONEER BUSINESS MAN
Mr. F.W. Williams Honoured
Saturday was the 80th anniversary of the birthday of Mr F.W. Williams, a foundation member of the ﬁrm of Williams and Kettle, Ltd., Napier. It was appropriately celebrated in the morning with a staff presentation, and in the afternoon at his home in “Hukarere,” Clyde road, a number of very old friends gathered to convey their good wishes. Like his associate, Mr Nat. Kettle, his life has been closely parallel with the advancement of this district, and it was right that the occasion should be observed.
Mr Williams was the grandson of the ﬁrst Bishop Williams of New Zealand, and was born in Poverty Bay. In 1888, he and Mr Kettle laid the foundation of the company which bears their name, and though the early period of its history demanded unremitting attention, Mr Williams managed to devote a part of his time to public matters. He eventually became the second chairman of the Napier Barbour Board, and was Mayor of Napier from 1903 to 1905, as well as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Hawke’s Bay Education Board, for 28 years chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Permanent Building Society and chairman of both the A. and P. Society and the Children’s Home for a number of years.
His leisure hours were equally well occupied, and he made a reputation as a rifle shot at Bisley, and as an angler in many parts of the country.
On Saturday morning the staff of Williams and Kettle presented him with an arm-chair and a fountain pen, in recognition of his services and in honour of his 80th birthday. Mr L.C. Rolls, the general manager, made the presentation, and in so doing said they felt it fitting for them to acknowledge the occasion. “We consider it an honour and privilege to have you with us to-day in order that we may convey to you our sincere respects and good wishes,” he said.
“It is over 54 years ago since you ﬁrst commenced business in Napier, and during the whole of your business career you have always been admired and respected by all, and especially by the staff of Williams and Kettle.
“Mr Williams, to you lies the credit of laying the foundation stone of our company, the success of which has in no small measure been due to your efforts, and I can assure you we very much appreciate this fact.
ENDEARED TO ALL.
“Your life has been one of hard work, a life devoted to the interests of others, and we know you have at all times in your quiet, unassuming way done much to help the poor and needy, and it is these excellencies of character than [that] have endeared you to the hearts of us all.
“On behalf of the staff I ask you to accept this arm-chair and fountain pen as a slight token of our respect and esteem, and with our very sincere good wishes that you will be blessed with many more years of health and happiness, and when you are sitting in the chair we trust it will remind you of your association with the staff of Williams and Kettle Ltd. which extends over so many years.”
Mr Williams made a brief and apt response.
Photo caption – MR. F.W. WILLIAMS