Horace Victor Myers


Daily Gleaner, February 24, 1944

Mr. Horace V. Myers A
Great Jamaican Died Yesterday
Business Magnate And
Philantropist was Noted
Figure In Island's History

   A career that for close on fifty
years influenced most profoundly the
business and economic life of Ja-
maica, ended yesterday afternoon
with the passing of Mr. Horace Vic-
tor Myers, J.P., M.B.E. He died at
his St. Andrew residence, Courtleigh,
31, Trafalgar Road, at 4 o'clock in the
afternoon. The funeral takes place
to-day moving from the home at
4:30 this afternoon for the Jewish.
Cemetery on Orange street.
   Despite his retirement from busi-
ness some years ago, the name of
Horace Myers remained fresh and
green in business circles, symbolic
as it was of integrity and friendliness
and regard for the larger civic inter-
ests of the community. So it is that
today tens of thousands will mourn
with his family and close friends, the
passing of a unique personality.
   This newspaper, to the building up
of which the late Mr. Myers contri-
buted by his sagacity and business
foresight, shares in the universal
regret which the citizenry must feel
at his passing.

              A GREAT CAREER
   Horace Victor Myers was born on
January 14, 1876, the son of the late
Frederick Louis Myers, Justice of the
Peace and for decades one of the
foremost wholesale merchants of the
Island. He received his education
under the late William Morrison,
M. A., at the Kingston Collegiate
School, and on passing out entered.
his father's business as a junior clerk.
From this early period young
Myers gave evidence of the life of
usefulness and service to the com-
munity that he was destined to lead.
   On attaining his majority in 1897,
his father took him into partnership
and from that time until the present,
the House of Myers has enjoyed a
record of continuous progress, rising
in the public's esteem with each
succeeding year. It has lengthened
its lines and strengthened its stakes
so that today, it not only covers Ja-
maica but advertises this island
   On the retirement of his father,
Mr. Horace Myers became sole pro-
prietor of the gigantic business which
he had helped to build. This was in
1914 and he was then 38 years of age.
It was the beginning of World War
I. Jamaica went all out to assist the
Motherland and in the very fore
front of this activity was Mr. Horace
Victor Myers.
   He gave without stint of his
wealth, his time and his abilities to
the common cause - and as a keen
student of European Affairs found
his services in constant demand on
the many War-time Committees that
were set up. Mr. Myers's House then
as now, had wide connections with
Nassau, and at his own expense he
operated a service between that
colony and Jamaica for the purpose
of bringing contingents recruited in
the Bahamas to this island to be later
despatched to Ihe fighting fronts. No
cll, whatever its nature, however
exacting the demand, during that
four-year struggle, was ever turned
down by the House of Myers and
that example did much to heighten
morale throughout Jamaica and in-
deed, in the West Indies. His dona-
tions invariably gave a big start to
the various war funds.
   In the period of reconstruction
that followed the War of 1914-18, no
less than during the course of the
conflict, Mr. Myers, who had been
made a Justice of the Peace irt 1915,
continued to play a large part. Gov-
ernment and business circles came
to rely more and more on his sage
   In the present Global conflict Mr.
Myers was among the very flrst to give
£5,000 for a bombing plane - one of
Jamaica's famous squadron, now in
perpetual conflict with the Nazis.
   Some honour came to Mr, Myers
In 1919 when he was appointed a
Nominated Member, of the Legisla-
tive Council and that same year he
was made a Member of the Most
Excellent Order of the British Em-
pire. Mr. Myers served for eight
years in the Legislative Council.
   Perhaps the first Jamaican to per-
ceive the value of advertising this
Island, its products, its attractions,
abroad, was Horace Victor Myers,
and he employed his great genius and
wealth to this end, with results that
have been of lasting benefit to the
colony. Outstanding in this respect
was the Garden Party which he gave
at the Wembley Exhibition in 1924,
which was attended by His Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales, after-
wards King Edward VIII and now
Duke of Windsor, Governor of the
Bahamas. The nobility and gentry of
England was fully represented on
that historic occasion. It marked an
epoch for Jamaica. People from
every land got to know of and take
an interest in Jamaica.
With his heart set on bringing Ja-
maica into line with other progres-
sive countries, Mr. Myers went about
developing the Chamber of Com-
merce and Merchants Exchange; and
it is upon the foundation he laid, that
the present strong and influential
organization has been built. He as-
sumed the Presidency of the
Chamber at a period when its for-
tunes were ebbing and by his trem-
endous energy rapidly revitalized it.
He remained in the Chair from 1924
to 1933, and .afterwards was Vice-
President for many years.
   Civic improvement was almost to
him a passion. On his own initiative
and at his personal expense he carried
out several Clean-up and Paint
Up Campaigns in the metropolis which
had a most wholesome and refreshing
influence on the entire community.
A list of the Boards and Organiza-
tions on which he served gives some
index of the wide field covered by
his activities. He was a Member of
the Executive Council of the Jamaica
Imperial Association, a member of
the Advisory Board of the Jamaica
Government Railway, the Board of
Management of the Government Sav-
ings Bank; a Director of the Gleaner
Company Ltd., a Director of the
Kingston Sailor's Home, and a Mem-
ber of the Jamaica Consular Corps,
a member of the Royal Colonial In-
stitute, the West India Committee,
the West India Club. He was also
Consul for Sweden and Vice-Consul
for Spain and Finland and was hon-
oured by King Gustav of Sweden
with the Knighthood of the Royal
Order of Vasa, First Class.
   In the field of sport Mr. Myers was
also active and prominent. For over
a quarter of a century he was Presi-
dent of the Melbourne Cricket Club.
He helped cricket in all its aspects.
Tennis also claimed his attention,
and visiting teams always received,
through Mr. Myers, a right impres-
sion of Jamaican hospitality.
               FAMILY MAN.
   As a family man, the late Mr.
Myers was a modeL His influence as
a father is reflected in his son Mr.
Eustace Myers who now so creditably
heads the House of Myers, and in
his daughter, Miss Elsie Myers, a
keen supporter of local charities and
social activities. In 1900 he married
Miss May D'Costa, who died some
years ago.
   Befitting his position in the com-
munity, for years the late Mr. Myers
was the Head of the United Congre-
gation of Israelites, and was instru-
mental in bringing about the im-
provements at the old Jewish Burial
Ground, North Street, on one half
of which the Jewish Institute has
been erected. Generous in the ex-
treme, but also modest, no one but
Mr. Myers himself knew the full ex-
tent of his charity, but literally
hundreds of people have good reason
to call his name blessed. The suffer-
ers in the cloud-burst of 1933 will
remember him for the aid he quickly
gave at the time of that terrible dis-
aster and his name is also inscribed
on the roll of honour in connection
with the T. B. Sanatorium.
   Because of these things and because
too his contact with mankind was
always good, thousands will bow
their heads in sadness this day. A
great Jamaican has passed to his
eternal rest, and this island is all the
poorer for his passing. His name will
be a fragrant memory to many.
   The funeral leaves "Courtleigh" at
4.30 this afternoon for the Jewish
Cemetery in Orange Street.