Well done Centenarian Lester Boothe
A long, healthy life is the wish of many. Surpassing 100 years is rare.
Lester Boothe achieved that milestone and bettered it by four months and 15 days.
In his honour, relatives and friends gathered at the Webster Memorial United Church located on Half-Way-Tree Road last Thursday to pay tribute to a long life, well lived.
Boothe, born on April 3, 1912, was remembered as a respectful man who lived a life filled with humour and selfless service to others. He passed away on August 18.
His thanksgiving service began with a musical prelude followed by the opening hymn Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, and a rendition of the song Jerusalem by Lieutenant Commander John McFarlane and Dimario McDowell.
Boothe, who has resided both in the United States and Jamaica had outlived his wife, Mabel, three of his children as well as most of his peers.
Instead of flowing tributes, two of his children, Curtis and Debra Boothe, offered a remembrance in honour of their father.
"It's always happy to see everyone," his son, Curtis said, with a cheerful approach while reflecting on the life of his father.
"This guy enjoyed life and would want everyone to enjoy their's," he began.
Curtis said that his father's measurement of socialisation and friendship had no bounds, especially as he grew older.
"Those of us who knew him, knew that he was very social. He had a calm spirit. I never knew if anything bothered him because he never showed it," Curtis recalled.
He added that whenever there was any difference between his mother and father, "it would appear as if she would have been arguing with herself" as his father would not engage in arguments with anyone.
"Father was a very humorous and friendly guy," said Curtis, adding that at events his father would engage anybody willing to engage him in conversation.
"One thing about my father," Curtis continued, "the house must not be without brown bread and cornflakes".
"Once he woke to make breakfast and there was neither 'lovely house and no food'," he declared.
Debra, likewise, shared stories of her father, also remembering him for his sociable spirit.
She said that while living in New York in her younger days, her busy work schedule never allowed her to get to know her neighbours. One day her father visited her apartment but she was late on arriving to meet with him.
Debra recounted that upon entering the building, neighbours she never spoke with approached her at the door saying "You're Mr Boothe's daughter. You're late".
"He could strike up a conversation with anyone," Debra emphasised.
"He was a gifted storyteller and most of his stories were about his childhood days in Westmoreland. My dad appreciated the simple things in life," she said, adding that her father lived his life based on "love, loyalty, trust, and joy".
"Loyalty, my Dad believed in loyalty. 'Backative', he invented the word. Peace, if you argued with him, you were arguing with yourself. He never raised his voice and I witnessed him only once losing his temper," Debra said as she reflected.
She further praised her Dad for being "a pretty good swimmer".
"I thought he was professionally trained, but he learned how to swim because his brothers would throw him in the river," she said with a smile.
After completing secondary studies in Jamaica, Boothe migrated to the United States to pursue studies in dentistry. However, due to the economical strains then, he never completed that dream, but secured employment, which allowed him to care for his wife and children. He retired and returned to Jamaica in 1994 where lived until his passing. He was cremated.