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Former GG to be buried today

Mourners: Sir Howard lived a good life

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Observer staff reporter hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 08, 2014    

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FORMER Governor General Sir Howard Cooke was yesterday remembered as a man who "lived a good life" by the scores of mourners, including relatives, friends, and members of the clergy and diplomatic corps, who showed up at the Mico University College yesterday to view his body as it lay in state.

Sir Howard's niece Ruth Cooke Gibbs said he was a man with a huge heart.

"He cared for his people, regardless of where they came from in terms of their social status. He loved his country. It's wonderful that Jamaica has recognised him," she said.

Eunice Cooke Dunkley, another of the late governor general's nieces, remembered him as an incredible advisor and friend.

"He was the people's governor. He gave his heart for Jamaicans. He helped form the People's National Party but he crossed all party lines," she said.

His nephew Norman Cooke said he was a wonderful and humble person.

While some mourners showed obvious signs of grief, others wore poker faces as they paid their respects and signed the guest book with words of condolences to the family.

Ambassador Byron Blake remembered Sir Howard as a man who lived a good life and set a good example for Jamaicans to follow.

"I think if we just look back at his life, especially persons in authority, political or otherwise, look at the example he has set, the country would be very much better off," Blake said.

He further added that being a part of the Mico family, he has had the opportunity to interact with Sir Howard, whom he described as a man who forgot nothing. Sir Howard taught at the Mico College and Practising School for many years.

"He had the memory of an elephant and would always remember you, the event and time that you met," Blake said.

Eighty-five-year-old Illrell Neufville, meanwhile, said she was rejoicing in the life Sir Howard lived.

"Because he had lived such a long life, it is not sorrowful, it's a wonderful feeling that we had such a great man in our time and I've been abroad and come home and always admired him on my television. Now that he's passed, it's such a wonderful feeling," Neufville said.

Oliver Tomlinson and Michael Reid, past students of Mico, said Sir Howard was a man to emulate.

"He epitomised the Mico spirit and I've always admired him. The role he played in the political arena of Jamaica cannot be underscored," explained Tomlinson.

Said Reid: "I saw it fit to be here to pay homage to a great Miconian; somebody who exemplified the highest ideals of the Mico, somebody who was held in high esteem, who did all he could at the highest level and I use his passing to reflect on his memory and to honour him."

Sydney Roberts, president of Jamaica Awareness Incorporation, said he had to make the trip from Miami, Florida to pay respect to Sir Howard.

"I consider my education to be as a result of what he has done for education, from primary education right back to when Michael Manley decided to give tertiary education to people like me who could not afford otherwise to get a tertiary education, so I'm eternally grateful for the work he has done overtime," Roberts said.

Kenneth Wint and his 10-year-old son Kenardo Wint from Maxfield Avenue said he admired Sir Howard on television and always listened to the words he had to say. For Wint he said the mere fact his son did not know him was sad.

"It's just a pity he'll never get the chance to know what he's really made of where children and education are concerned," Wint said.

Reverend Courtney Anderson from the Jamaica Evangelistic Association remembered Sir Howard as a man who was highly respected, a man of high esteem and integrity.

"He was one who set the pace of how a governor general should be, he was one that set his mark and can never be replaced," Anderson remarked.

Viviene Beersingh Davidson remembered Sir Howard as a friend and father to her, who taught her parents and eventually became her godfather while Mark Sweeney, a first-year student of Mico, said growing up he would always admire Sir Howard.

"Based on his work he has been an example for the younger generation, especially for persons who believe in Jamaica. He was a good representative for us and other persons in the world. If you want to become Governor General- look to him for inspiration, if we take a leaf from his book Jamaica would be a better place," he said.

Janett Ismay, head of the music department at Mico, said he has always spoken about the college and said she felt the same as he did, meaning, "Mico has put me where I am today."

Sir Howard, who died on July 11 at age 98, will be accorded a state funeral today and laid to rest at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

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