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Hundreds bid 'Blubber' Campbell farewell

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014    

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FORMER Central Banker, horse racing official, sports fanatic and music aficionado, Walter Kent McArthur "Blubber" Campbell was sent on his final journey in style yesterday, ending a life that brought happiness and joy to himself and those whom he knew.

Hundreds crammed the Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street to say farewell to the man who many described as one who loved everyone and whom everyone loved.

Cuban-born Campbell, who came to Jamaica as a toddler and represented St George's College in Manning Cup football, including playing on the winning Manning Cup and Olivier Shield team of 1956, died of a heart attack on New Year's Eve, two days after his 74th birthday.

The wooden casket was not opened, as, according to officiating priest Monsignor Michael Lewis, "this is not how we want to remember him".

"It is an extraordinary individual who is able to bring into the congregation so many people of diverse persuasions," Monsignor Lewis said.

Campbell served the Bank of Jamaica for 43 years and he was one of the prominent faces in the Merritone Music fraternity over the decades.

"The Bank of Jamaica fraternity is here, the racing fraternity ... and you will finish on time to get to that other place," Monsignor Lewis said in reference to those who had an interest in attending racing at Caymanas Park.

"The people from the other institution from across the street are here...", he added, referring to members of St George's main rival over the years, Kingston College.

"Walter lived a very full life. Him go a track a Jamaica, and him go a track a foreign," he said, pointing to Campbell's love for horse racing which was well-known, as apart from serving as a member of the Jamaica Racing Commission, the organisation that regulates horse racing in Jamaica, he travelled overseas regularly to some of the world's top race meets, including the Belmont Stakes.

"Him go a Carnival ina Jamaica and Carnival a foreign. In all the places he went he touched people's lives in a very positive way.

"Take comfort in the knowledge that this, our brother, lived well. This, our brother, lived good," Monsignor Lewis said.

There were no spoken tributes or eulogy, as those were handed out in printed form as insertions in the funeral programme.

But Monsignor Lewis in his homily brought out the several positives of Campbell's life.

"When you see someone who is hungry, feed him; when you see someone who is thirsty, offer him something to drink; when you see someone who has nothing to wear, find something for him to wear ... these are the simple things that Walter did," Monsignor Lewis continued.

"How many people did Walter share a smile with and it made them feel better? How many people did Walter help out of financial distress and all these he did and did not seek recognition?", the man of the cloth said.

Among others officiating were Fr Richard Ho Lung, deacons Ronnie Thwaites, Trevor Graham, Clive Chambers and Oswald Tie.

Campbell was buried at Dovecot Memorial Park.

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