His death was announced by James K. Irving, his oldest brother and the chairman and chief executive of J. D. Irving, the family’s privately held holding company. No cause was given, although a family spokesman said his death followed a brief illness.
Along with his father, K. C. Irving, and his two brothers, Mr. Irving helped direct an expansion of the family’s business after World War II that led it to dominate the economy of their home province.
Today the family is among Canada’s wealthiest and controls about 300 companies with interests in oil refining, retailing and distribution as well as lumber, paper, steel, hardware, trucking, shipbuilding, shipping, railroads, printing and consumer products.
The family’s dominance of New Brunswick has not escaped criticism. Two federal government inquiries of the news media have criticized the Irvings’s near-complete control of the province’s daily newspapers, as well as many of its radio stations and weekly newspapers.
Even for a family known for its avoidance of publicity, Mr. Irving maintained an unusually low profile. While the family discloses little about its internal operations, it is widely believed that he was the least active of the three brothers in its business operations.
When Mr. Irving joined the family company in 1952, his father was investing heavily in its oil business in an attempt to diversify beyond its traditional base in forestry. One of Mr. Irving’s roles was to supervise the construction of an oil refinery, distribution facilities and a chain of service stations that remain highway fixtures throughout eastern Canada.
Mr. Irving’s survivors include his wife, Suzanne Cameron; two sons, John K. F. and Colin D. Irving; and a daughter, Anne Cameron I. Oxley. His second brother, Arthur, remains active in the family business.
Source: New York Times