Felix remembered as consummate civil servant

Felix remembered as consummate civil servant

Staff reporter

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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A prelude of music set the tone for a grand send-off of late diplomat Elinor Marguerite Felix at the St Andrew Parish Church on Saturday, where family, friends and dignitaries gathered in thanksgiving for her life.

The former diplomat passed on July 7 after a long fight with cancer. Felix was 70 years old.

A rapt audience listened as tributes poured in for Ambassador Felix who was remembered as a consummate civil servant; one who had lived life to the fullest, and who had a kind heart for those in need.

Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, in absentia, paid tribute to Ambassador Felix, describing her as a friend and confidante.

“She was kind, gentle and always eager to encourage and quietly help those in need. Her very warm and friendly personality enabled Ambassador Felix to engage the large community in Cuba and to respond superbly to the vast needs of students there. Her formidable interpersonal skills, her meticulous attention to detail were exquisitely combined,” said Patterson.

Her friend and colleage, Ambassador Marcia Gilbert Roberts, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, recalled her colleague's outstanding achievements spanning 50 years.

She noted that after her tenure as Jamaica's Ambassador to Cuba ended in 2009, Ambassador Felix returned home and became the first person to assume the position of chief of state Protocol at the Office of the Prime Minister, where she served until she retired from the post in 2018.

“Over those nine years, she served three prime ministers and oversaw the management of several Royal and State visits. Amongst her notable achievements was an increase in the number of tertiary level scholarships offered annually by the Cuban Government to Jamaicans, particularly in the field of medicine,” said Ambassador Gilbert, who further noted Ambassador Felix's tenacity during her illness.

“In her later years, even when health challenges intervened, Elinor was never lacking in passion for her job or in compassion for her colleagues,” said Gilbert.

Justice Hilary Phillips, in remembering the onset of her sister's illness, said that Felix faced her sickness 'with poetry, grace and dignity'.

“To say that she dealt with that daunting time with poetry, grace and dignity would not be enough. She held her head high. She worked, she danced, and she lived. She never spoke about dying, always about living,” said Phillips.

In tribute to his mother, Dr Omar Felix pronounced Ambassador Felix's giving nature, even in death.

“Mommy was always giving, so much so that even in death she is giving back to the world. She has requested for her body to be donated to science so after the funeral her body will be taken to the anatomy department of the Medical Faculty at The University of the West Indies. From the time I started medical school and I told her about my experience at the anatomy lab, she decided that she wanted to help other medical students learn about the human anatomy,” said Felix.

He further noted her love for “her Jamaican students in Cuba, her co-workers, her friends and family. We have all experienced her warmth and kind heart and will have so many fond memories of her.

“She was so fun loving; always the life of the party. Always dancing and laughing. She travelled the world and lived life to the fullest. She became fluent in Spanish and French and experienced numerous cultures and made so many friends all over the world. She really had an extraordinary,” said Dr Felix.

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