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Remembering the man Randolph Ebenezer Laing

Sunday, August 31, 2014    

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RANDOLPH Ebenezer Laing made his final transition recently and was hailed for his 97 years of sterling contribution to nation building at the Falmouth United Church in Trelawny last month.

Laing was born in Brown's Hall, in the hills of St Catherine.

He was the last of 14 children to Leanthe Elizabeth Laing and Israel Augustus Laing.

He was educated at the Brown's Hall Elementary School, and received private tuition before advancing to teachers' college, and worked as an assistant teacher between January 1941 and March 1942.

The ambitious Laing wanted to become a medical doctor, but his family did not have the resources to help him pursue this ambition. Undaunted, he enlisted as a student at the Public Health School in Kingston, successfully completed the programme and was awarded a Certificate of the Royal Society of Health.

He was employed as a public health inspector with the Central Board of Health during the period November 1942 to the end of September 1944 when, like many other Jamaicans with a commitment to fighting for 'The Motherland of England', he volunteered to serve in the Royal Air Force.

He served with distinction and was issued a war medal for serving during the Second World War.

Laing returned to Jamaica in 1948 and rejoined the Central Board of Health.

He worked in the Malaria Division in Kingston, St Thomas and Trelawny.

Laing also served at the Norman Manley International Airport as a Quarantine Inspector and then later returned to St Thomas, serving in the Health Unit at Bath.

It was in western Jamaica that he gave the longest service, joining the Hanover Health Department in April 1950. In March 1951 he was transferred to Trelawny and was stationed in various communities across the parish. This was followed by a nine-month stint in the St James Health Department in 1971, after which he returned to Trelawny.

After many years of diligent, conscientious service, Laing was transferred to Westmore-land as the chief public health inspector and took command of a dynamic team, retiring in 1977 after more than 30 years' service to Jamaica's health services.

'Uncle Dolph', as he was called by his many nieces and nephews, in his retirement years later worked as the parish supervisor in Trelawny for the Enumeration Exercise of Agricultural Census, for the Bureau of Statistics between 1978 and 1979.

According to Laing's son, Ellis James Laing, his father was brutally honest.

"You did not win friends easily and you acknowledged that your honesty may have often worked against you in the professional discharge of your duties. This did not deter you, Daddy, from speaking your views with frankness yet with respect. You must have done this at work; your colleagues have said so; we saw you do it at home, we know you did it in the community and we certainly know that you did it in church. With your forthrightness, you demonstrated integrity and if I dare say so, your children have been guided by you," he said.

The body of Randolph Laing was interred in the Martha Brae Cemetery in Trelawny.

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