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Hundreds say goodbye to cricket's Maurice Clarke

BY HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 05, 2014    

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Former successful manager of the Jamaica national cricket team, Maurice Courtney Clarke was, among other things, remembered as a special man who was committed to what he put his mind to.

Clarke, 59, the former president of the St Mary Cricket Association who also served as an assistant treasurer and board members of the Jamaica Cricket Association, succumbed to the rare Motor Neurone Disease at his home in Highgate, St Mary, on April 20. He had been ailing for several months.

Motor Neurone Disease is among a group of neurological disorders that affect muscle activity and affects walking, speaking, movement of the body, and swallowing.

The disease, which has no known cure, progressively worsens the affected persons condition and eventually leads to death.

"He was a giant of a man," custos of St Mary Jeffrey McKitty told hundreds in a packed Clermont Seventh-day Adventist Church on the outskirts of Highgate, yesterday.

"When the history book is written about St Mary, Maurice Clarke will be among those about whom good things will be said," McKitty stated of the deceased justice of the peace.

"Maurice was special. He always wanted Jamaica to be united and to always achieve," said Fritz Harris, honorary secretary of the Jamaica

Cricket Association.

"He was a board director for 12 years, assistant treasurer for two, and managed the Jamaica team, winning two trophies.

"He was known to be reliable, punctual and committed and was never too busy to address a concern of a player or official... he was a loving soul. He was the epitomey of love and concern, easy to relate to, a confidant, friend and brother," Harris said of the Dinthill Technical High School past student.

Children Alicia and Maurice Jnr also spoke glowingly about their dad.

"My dad was protective and loving of myself and Maurice," said Alicia, an architect.

"He always treated you with respect and had tolerance. Daddy respected family," said Maurice Jnr, a former Jamaica youth team cricketer who represented, among other teams, the University of the West Indies, St Mary, and Lucas Cricket Club at the sport.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and housing, Dr Morais Guy, described Clarke as one who took risks for his family and endeared himself to

the community.

"He was a cherished St Mary parish man. He loved people and loved seeing people progress," declared Dr Guy, sentiments that were echoed by Port Maria Mayor Levan Freeman.

"He dedicated his life to St Mary, but he was a strong family man. I want to see a competition started in his memory. I would donate the trophy, because Maurice left a legacy," Freeman said.

Clarke was buried at the Port Maria Cemetery.

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