Jeffrey Lorenzo McKitty — loved and appreciated by the people of St Mary

Life Tributes


Saturday, May 09, 2015

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If the large number of people who turned out for the thanksgiving service for Jeffrey Lorenzo McKitty at the St Mary Parish Church on Saturday, May 2 was anything to judge by, Alaric 'Bobby' Pottinger was right, "Custos McKitty was deeply loved and appreciated by the people of this parish." Hundreds filled the church along with two large tents as people from all across Jamaica and overseas paid their last respects to the man described as loving and caring.

McKitty, 61, died on April 7, 2015 after being ill for sometime.

"Whether he was on the job or just out and about in the parish, his heart for the people was evident," an emotional Pottinger spoke of McKitty, a man he said was his confidante and friend.

He said it was this love for his people which led to McKitty volunteering in the parish he has called home since 1986. Custos McKitty grew up in Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland, and later migrated to St Mary. The husband of Yvonne and father to two daughters Keshia McKitty and Dr Nadia McKitty-Sesay was passionate about serving his people and so would take on duties in various organisations which would allow him to fulfil his passion.

Custos McKitty served the parish through the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the St Mary Chamber of Commerce and the St Mary Agricultural Show. He was also board chairman of the Oracabessa High School. His life of service to the parish reached a pinnacle in 2013 when he was appointed Custos of St Mary.

"The people of St Mary will forever be grateful to him for his service," Pottinger said.

"I found him to be a friend and a confidant and a fellow servant who always encouraged me to share even more," he continued.

Pottinger said Custos McKitty was a family man who was not only a good father and husband but who was a source of strength to other family members and his community.

Although he fought cancer for 12 years, McKitty was always an "uncompromising optimist", Pottinger said.

"For 12 years he battled cancer and was not afraid to let others know that he was a cancer survivor," he explained.

Custos Emeritus Pottinger was not the only one who had high praises for McKitty. He started what would later be echoed throughout the tributes which were done at the thanksgiving service.

Karlene Murdock, who gave a tribute on behalf of the St Matthews Anglican Church in Boscobel, where McKittty was a member, said "Except for God, his family meant everything to him." She said McKitty was very proud of his children. However, while his family was very important to him, others were not neglected. "No one was left out," Murdock said McKitty's kindness was immeasurable. The young people at his church benefited from scholarships he established and implemented.

She went on to describe him as a man who was humble, friendly, selfless and compassionate. Murdock said McKitty was a true gentleman worthy of emulation.

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen described McKitty as one who always gave his best. "Mediocrity was never an option to Jeffrey McKitty and integrity was his strong suit," he said as he spoke about the Mico College graduate and former educator at the York Castle High School in Brown's Town.

The Governor General said McKitty was very anxious to mentor young people and was one who strongly supported the "I believe" initiative.

Pauline McKitty Robinson, sister, closed the segment for the tributes made in honour of her brother by doing a remembrance.

"He lived his life to the fullest and touched the lives of many." She said her brother was a strong family man.

"He loved his family profoundly and was a true ambassador for Jamaica," she said, he also loved his country."

According to her, her brother loved farming and was always willing to share the produce from his farm with everyone. With his love and care for others, the trunk of his car was always filled with produce, she said.

McKitty Robinson said her brother also had a passion for education. Hence, he took that path of study. McKitty had a passion for young people, she said. Jeffrey McKitty taught at the York Castle High for four years before entering the tourism sector where he served as the manager of several hotels. He was described as an extraordinary member of the industry where he displayed quality leadership.

Although he was successful at whatever he does, McKitty remained humble. According to McKitty Robinson, people admired her brother's respect for all. In spite of his accomplishments, McKitty respected everyone equally irrespective of their background. "We drew from him humility, love and generosity," she said.

Also participating in the service were Dimario McDowell and Karen Smith who did a duet of the The Prayer. McDowell later did a selection of McKitty's favourite song, The Holy City.

The Old Testament Bible reading taken from Wisdom 3: 1-9 was done by Paulette Campbell, a family friend. McKitty's daughters Keshia McKitty and Dr Nadia McKitty-Sesay did the New Testament reading from Romans 6: 3-10.

The sermon was delivered by The Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory, Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

The body of Custos McKitty was laid to rest in the St Matthews Anglican Church cemetery in Oracabessa, St Mary.


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