MAY PEN, Clarendon — Late Clarendon football stalwart John Green was on Saturday hailed as "an icon, a great human being" and a "father to many" during a thanksgiving service at the St Gabriel's Anglican Church in May Pen.
Green, an English-born naturalised Jamaican, died at the age of 73 on Tuesday, July 10 at the May Pen Hospital following a brief period of illness.
He gave lifelong service to grassroots football in central Jamaica which formed the focal point of just about every tribute paid to him on Saturday evening.
"John has made such a tremendous contribution not only to football in Clarendon, but also on a national level. May the soul of an icon, a legend, a great human being rest in peace," said Clarendon Football Association president Michael Ricketts, who also brought greetings on behalf of JFF president Captain Horace Burrell who is on FIFA duties in London.
Green, born in Hastings, England on March 3, 1939 and educated at the University of Birmingham, came to Jamaica in 1971 following previous expeditions in Nigeria and Zambia and immediately immersed himself in community development through sports and education.
He first taught at Clarendon College in Chapelton, where he served as sports master and among other things, before going on to lecture at the GC Foster College in Angels, St Catherine.
Among those to have benefitted from his guidance is Garfield Robinson, coach of Clarendon Under-15 team, who paid a moving tribute to mentor.
He said: "Despite knowing the cycle of life — you are born, nurtured, make your mark then make your transition — there are moments in our lives when we wish time could stand still. If I could give five years of my life just to have him here today I would.
"John, you welcomed us (coaches) in the shade of your wisdom and it was good. You welcomed many youngsters in your bosom and it was good, so on behalf of all of the coaches and the many players I say thank you."
In his tribute, Central Clarendon Member of Parliament Mike Henry promised to develop the West Park Community Centre where Green spent most of his days molding young minds into a football nursery named in his honour. "He was a humble achiever; one who gave more than he received," Henry said.
Outside of sports, Green was also a dedicated businessman. "He married his love for sports and education when he (opened) Sports and Book in May Pen and Chapelton," Doreen Bailey said in the eulogy.
Carlong Publishers, with whom Green did business for years, described him as a "worthy businessman".
"He was well respected by everybody at Carlong Publishers," said Erpha Lewinson. "Rain or shine Mr Green was always on time. Mr Green was a very meticulous person; very organised and paid great attention to detail. He was an excellent accountant who got a distinction in bookkeeping."
Green, who was given the FIFA Centennial Award of Merit and conferred the Order of Jamaica, is survived by wife Alice, children Christopher, Michael, Roger, Paul and Jennifer, plus five grandchildren. His body will be cremated.