FREDERICTON (CNB) -- The following statement on the death of New Brunswick industrialist and philanthropist John E. (Jack) Irving was issued today by Premier Shawn Graham:

It was with great regret that we learned today of the passing of Jack Irving.

Working with his brothers, James and Arthur, Jack Irving built upon the legacy of their father, K.C. Irving, to expand and develop the Irving Group of companies into the worldwide corporation it is today. For more than 50 years, Jack Irving was truly the builder of the family. As head of the construction and engineering companies, he was responsible for the design and construction of the facilities that have made the Irving Group the presence it is in our region, from service stations and stores to oil terminals and countless other facilities.

He also supported the restoration of heritage properties in Saint John that have helped revitalize the uptown. He also established a reputation as a generous philanthropist who supported educational institutions and the arts in our province and throughout the Maritimes.

Though he made his mark in business in Saint John, Jack Irving never forgot his roots in Kent County. He was close to his aunts, Lou and Elva MacNarin, who still resided in the Rexton area. I have fond memories of when I was a youngster seeing him while visiting our region during the summer.

Jack Irving was inducted along with his brothers into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2008 and was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in October 2007. He has left behind a shining legacy of business leadership and commitment to his province and his community that will be missed by all who have known and benefitted from his drive and his passion.

On behalf of all my colleagues in the legislature and all fellow New Brunswickers, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jack Irving for their loss.