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In former years a civil engineer, J. Norman Irving was closely indentified with reclamation work in Southern California and now figures prominently in financial circles of Riverside as the senior member of the firm of Irving & Conrad, investment bankers, with offices at 3640 Main street. He was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, September 26, 1879, a son of William Irving, who was a native of Scotland, born near Annandale, in the county of Dumfries. As a lad of twelve the father made the trip to Canada with his parents, who settled in Kingston, where he took a course of study which qualified him for architectural and engineering work. In association with his father, William Irving designed and erected many of the collegiate and public buildings which distinguish Kingston among Canadian cities. In 1881 he established the Kingston Car Works, of which he became president and manager. As a civic worker he also accomplished much, serving for a number of years as a councilman of Kingston. At the invitation of Matthew Gage, he came to Riverside in 1887 to act as engineer of the Gage Canal system. Under his supervision the Gage canal was constructed from the Terquisquito arroyo to its present terminus and Arlington Heights was developed. In 1894 he was made manager of the Riverside Trust Company, Limited, so continuing until 1901, when his title was changed to that of consulting manager, in which capacity he acted throughout the remainder of his life. As an investigator of irrigation practice in Southern California he rendered important service to the federal government from 1901 until his death on September 23, 1904. At the age of thirty-four years he had married Eliza Gage, who was born in Coleraine, Ireland, in 1839, a daughter of James and Margaret (Orr) Gage and a sister of Matthew Gage, of whom extended mention is made on another page of this work. To Mr. and Mrs. William Irving were born six children: Elizabeth Brow, who is the wife of John M. Mylne; Margaret Eva, now Mrs. Stewart E. Malloch of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Kathleen, who married Edward V. Trevelyan; William Gage, a prominent Riverside attorney whose sketch is published elsewhere in this work; Robert M., a horticulturist; and J. Norman.

The last named was but eight years of age when the family came to Riverside, and here acquired his grammar and high school education. His advanced studies were pursued in Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, where he joined the Tau Beta Phi fraternity, and in 1911 received the degree of Civil Engineer. Following his graduation he was a construction engineer for the Gage Canal Company until he engaged in irrigation investigations for the United Stated government, and later located in Los Angeles, where he was associated with the well known firm of Quinton, Code & Hill, consulting engineers, who were intrusted with large irrigation projects. Mr. Irving returned to Riverside in 1923 to look after his investments and is now a partner of the business of Irving & Conrad, dealers in bonds and other high-grade securities.

In 1913 Mr. Irving married Miss Joan Malloch of Hamilton, Ontario, and they now have four children, Joan, Robert, Mary and Lilla, all in school. For relaxation from business cares Mr. Irving turns to photography and although an amateur, he has connection with the Riverside Bowling Club, the Victoria Club, the Los Angeles Athletic Club and the California Club of Los Angeles. Manifesting a deep and helpful interest in everything that touches the welfare and progress of his city, Mr. Irving is vice president and a director of the Community Hospital and one of the members of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. He has always dealt honorably with his fellowmen and stands deservedly high in public esteem.




Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.

Source: California of the South Vol. II, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 441-443, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.

2012 Cecelia M. Setty.