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Jan 13, 2011

Former Public Servant Edgar “Bally” Gegg, 99 years old, passes away

edgar "bally" gegg

Edgar “Bally” Gegg passed away quietly at his Belize City home at two-thirty p.m. on Wednesday. His family was preparing to mark his one hundredth birthday; instead, they are now planning a celebration of his life. While he had receded from public life, Gegg was a well known businessman who had spent much of life in public service. News Five’s Delahnie Bain looks back at the extraordinary life of the centenarian.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Just sixteen days shy of his one hundredth birthday, well known businessman, Edgar “Bally” Gegg, passed away on Wednesday. He aged resiliently into his late nineties, but his son Francis, says the years of work eventually told on him.

Francis Gegg, Son of Edgar Gegg

francis gegg

“We had to hospitalize him eight times in the last two years; six of those times were with very severe pneumonia. Against the odds, against the doctor’s prognosis each time he survived it and the last two times one was for a major surgery for a twisted intestine, which again he defied the doctor’s prognosis that he would not live through the surgery.”

Bally Gegg was known, not only as the proprietor of Vogue Limited, but for his contributions to the education system. According to Francis, his father grew up in a humble family and his dedication to give back to the country came after he was granted a scholarship at Saint John’s College.

Francis Gegg

“And so he attended St. John’s College under full scholarship and having received a free education, something which they could never have envisioned, he felt bound to give back. And so he, for thirty-four years, was on the alumni association of St. John’s College, many years as president.  With his two Sergeant at Arms, one on either side Jim Waight and Charles Woods, they launched Landivar Fair and it became a huge success. I remember him telling me as a little boy that Landivar Fair had raised forty or fifty thousand dollars in one event and that was like hundreds and thousands of dollars in today’s dollars and these were the kinds of monies that were used to build schools, to be able to pay bills. For nine years he was the chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and during that  time, of course, he focused on raising money for them.”

Edgar also dabbled in politics and eventually moved on to work in government departments.

Francis Gegg

“As a government servant, he was at the age of thirty-four nominated a member of the Legislative Council by the governor. He served on that from 1934 until 1954.  He was a founding member of the People’s Committee, which eventually moved into the People’s United Party. So he was actually very involved in the foundational politics of this country. He was a foundational member of the Central Bank when it was the monetary authority. He was the chairman of Tourist Advisory Committee for ten or fifteen years; long before tourism was anything in Belize. He was a member of the first Board of Directors of DFC. He was from 1945 until the mid 70’s very involved in the Chamber of Commerce and helping to guide and lead commerce in this country.”

And along with the business, charity and politics, Edgar was man of the arts.

Francis Gegg

“He’s a founding member of the Belize Choral Society, he had been an actor, a singer in all the operas that were performed by the Choral Society when they started.  He was very involved when George Price used to write the Passion Plays for Easter, he was always one of the lead roles in those events. He and my mother met in theatre; that’s where they fell in love. It was their first love.  It’s mind boggling to believe and understand that one single human could have packed so much into one life.  There are more members of the family away than there are here and they had all planned to come to celebrate his birthday on the twenty-eighth of January. And so now they are coming to celebrate his life and so it looks like we’ll probably bury him on the twenty-eighth of January, which was his birthday.”

Francis says his father didn’t have much of a home life, but the family has fond memories of him to keep them going. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Edgar Gegg is survived by nine children.

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7 Responses for “Former Public Servant Edgar “Bally” Gegg, 99 years old, passes away”

  1. rod says:

    my condolences to the gegg family we are going to miss a lover of belize and an outstanding member of society one that contributed so much to the country of belize with honesty and dignity these are the kind of people missing in belize today replaced with nothing but corrupt people .

  2. Turok says:

    very impressed by the life of Mr. Edgar Gegg. Seemed like a well rounded individual and active Belizean. Hope his life serves as inspiration to the rest of us. Condolences to the family. R.I.P.

  3. fromafar says:

    These are the founding fathers of Belize… Condolences to Belize and the Gegg family

  4. macal rivera says:

    FRANCES LOOK HOW OLD YOU LOOK NOW MAN, BWAY YOU WERE SO HANDSOME IN YOUR YOUNG DAYS, WOW, HOW TIME PASSES AND WE GET OLD HMMMMM.

  5. vigilante justice 316 says:

    R.I.P Mr Gegg. you lived a long and eventful life of giving and being a good example. My condolences to the family.

  6. Francis Bowman says:

    A life of greatness. My own father passed away when I was very young. Edgar Gegg, Uncle “Bally” became a second father to me, treating me with care and kindness over the years. I knew him to be a man of steadfast integrity, great intellect and wit. The impish gleam in his eye lives on fondly in my memory. While I cannot be there to join the family in their time of sorrow, this is my brief testimonial to a truly great man, not only for his accomplishments, which are a many, but also in his kind and generous heart From New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

  7. Tim says:

    Growing up in southern California my grandmother, who ironically passed at the age of 99 just before her 100th birthday, told stories about a “magical” land to the south she had visited and where relatives lived. In the summer of 1971 after just graduating high school I was able to visit this “magical” land for the summer staying with Bally and family. Amongst the many wonderful memories is that of the larger than life iconic figure of Bally himself. Somewhat intimidating to this impressionable young man he nonetheless continually demonstrated his great and loving heart as he took care of all he encountered. I don’t think there have been or will be too many like him.

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