Mr Ossie Tong dies
Mr Charles Oswald (Ossie) Tong – Hastings senior funeral director and sporting administrator died yesterday. He was 87.
The Tong family will mark 100 years of buiness [business] in Hastings next year.
In 1878 Mr Tong’s father opened a builders and cabinetmakers business in Karamu Rd, next door to the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune.
After leaving Hastings Central School Mr Tong worked in his father’s business until he jointly founded the funeral directors firm of Tong and Peryer Ltd. Mr Tong’s son, Sam, is a partner.
After the 1931 earthquake, Mr Tong worked day and night to build caskets for earthquake victims. He wanted every victim to be able to be buried in a casket.
Mr Tong retired from the business 15 years ago.
In his younger days Mr Tong supported many sports.
He was one of the organisers of the Interhouse Marching Association which organised marching competitions between the big business houses in the 1930s.
He was an executive member of the Hastings Athletic Club from the 1920s until the 1940s and also of the now defunct Hawke’s Bay Wrestling club.
Mr Tong bowls and was a life member of the Kia Toa Bowling Club. He was one of the instigators of the night bowling and gave the Tong Cup to the Hawke’s Bay Bowling Centre for the junior pairs tournament.
The Hastings Orphans Club also benefited from Mr Tong’s support. He became a member in 1924, and was made a life member in 1928. He gave the club its elaborately carved chief’s chair and table.
Mr Tong passed on his love of sports to his children. His son, Sam, played for the Hawke’s Bay rugby team, and his daughter, Rona, won a bronze medal in athletics at the Empire Games in Sydney in 1938. She was a New Zealand netball player.
Mr Tong is survived by Sam and Rona (Mrs L. McCarthy), Hastings.