A heart like toast — Eugene McPherson remembered
SPALDING, Clarendon — When 63-year-old Eugene McPherson was laid to rest recently (Saturday, March 1) it was with the promise "we will wear your memory proudly".
That will not be a difficult task as, according to his remembrance, he was a very kind, loving and considerate person.
"He had a heart as warm as toast," said close friend Deseree Cole.
Cole said that she had high regard for McPherson as a little girl and in later years they developed a friendship.
"It was not very hard for me to accept Eugene when he came back from Kingston, even though I was a grown woman and had a family, as I had admired him since I was a child. Our relationship grew and grew and soon be became one of my closest friends and a grandfather to my children," she told congregants at the Full Truth Church of God Deliverance Centre in Santa Hill in Spalding.
Cole added: "I remember being sick and at home sometimes and he would be the only one who knew I was sick. We could call Eugene at any hour of the day or night and he would not hesitate to come to our assistance. The only time he hesitated was on a Sunday morning when he had to cook Mother Mac's rice and peas."
Affectionately called 'Juicy', McPherson shared the family home in Santa Hill with his mother Dorcas McPherson (Mother Mac) and nephew Lukie McPherson.
He worked at the Knox Educational Services (KES) printing factory before plying his trade as a printer in Kingston, following his formal education at Spalding Primary School.
The eldest of six children he returned to the community in 1990 after his father died and "the girls had moved on".
In Santa Hill he earned his livelihood through farming, driving and painting.
"Eugene was a wonderful son to me. I never asked him (any) favour and him tell me no," his 93-year-old mother said as she spoke briefly prior to a tribute in song from her wheelchair.
Among the pleasant memories for Cole has had was purchasing a cake, singing, and ceasing the moments with photographs they took as they celebrated with McPherson on his 61st birthday.
She said she first realised that he was not well one morning when he accompanied her to jog but was unable to make the journey.
"He started feeling pain in his stomach and he told me he couldn't breathe. We took our time and walked back and I convinced him to see a doctor. He ailed and ailed and it was my turn to take care of him. I really don't wish to talk about this chapter as it has wounded me very deeply as I felt useless. No matter what I did I couldn't make the pain go away," said Cole.
Family friend Robert Green in the eulogy said that during his illness with lung cancer, which started in 2011, it was also a period of transformation for McPherson.
"He took stock of his life and he left us an example. He got baptised in this very church during the year 2012," he said.
One of the officiating ministers, Ralston Coke, in his message said that many people aspire to "go back to Africa" but for children of God the real motherland, or fatherland, is a place where only the redeemed can walk.
"(God is) the shepherd, he's the companion now and he will be the host, to look after us, to take care of us, to welcome us into that celestial land," he said.
McPherson's sister Etta-Mae Fenton — employee of the Jamaica Observer -- said his commitment to community development reportedly spurred the decision for offering to be taken at the Thanksgiving Service in aid of the George Mueller Early Childhood School on the church grounds.
The family plot in Santa Hill was the final resting place for Eugene McPherson.