Obituary: T R I B U T E to George William Smith-Duncan

By anguillian April 5, 2013 09:40

Obituary:       T R I B U T E   to George William Smith-Duncan


The late George William Smith-Duncan

The late George William Smith-Duncan

The following tribute was delivered by Mr. Quincy Gumbs at the funeral of his uncle, in Slough, England, on Friday March 22, 2013. The late Mr. George William Smith-Duncan was formerly of the White Hill, Anguilla. He died on February 24 at the age of 85.

Today, (March 22nd), we are witnessing not only the home going ceremony of a husband, a father, grandfather, uncle, friend and an Anguillian.

We are witnessing the end of an era. When my uncle left home in the mid fifties before I was born, he left as one of ten (10) siblings, today he is the last to fall, they are all gone. They were all, fiercely independent, very protective of each other, very strong-willed and very mindful of the weaker siblings. Family meant everything to them. They shared pictures of their families and always wrote letters to each other. We were blessed to have three (3) uncles here in Slough who contributed to our mother regularly – £5 in the sixties was EC$24.00 and £10 was EC$48.00, back then, the value was about that of EC$1,000.00 today. Think of what it meant to have three (3) brothers to send you that three (3) times a year. I can still remember the job of going to Mount Fortune by Carolyn Fleming to get the letters from my uncles. In them were the means of buying food and clothes, and keeping us in school perpetuating our great family tradition of education. We were always blessed when one either Uncle George or Uncle David came home, Uncle Dolphus never made it back.

It was the sheer joy of having an uncle coming from all the way England, I believed the distance from there to Anguilla would have been as far as from here to planet Mars at that time but along with their coming, they brought Mars chocolate that made them little Gods and the best uncles in the world. So, today in this casket lies the last of one of the greatest stalwarts of the family this world had ever known.

May this lost create within his children, his nephews and nieces, a sense of urgency to keep their legacy alive and pass it on to our children in tact.

My uncle and the people of his generation were fiercely loyal to the homeland. They sent remittances not only to their siblings but to all the elders and under-privilege of their community. These remittances form the backbone of the economy of Anguilla in the days when their was nothing else. Some of them who are still here with us today, will tell the stories how they saved their money back home giving strength to the banks, some of them bought land and built houses while others created avenues for brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, village boys and girls to come join them here in Slough, so today we are not only witnessing the end of an era for family, but moreso, we are witnessing the end of an era of a faithful, patriotic Anguillian generation who would have borne any burden and endured any pain for the good of the homeland.

As we say goodbye to that generation, we do so with the greatest sense of gratitude for the contribution you made to our generation, you cracked the doors to the world open and we followed in the fields of religion, education, business, politics and civil society. You have made us proud and we will wear that pride as a badge of honour and a motivation for upward mobility.

On behalf of the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren of Uncle Amos, Uncle Hammy and my mother Jane, I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to the wife and children of Uncle George. We share your loss and mourn with you today and to my Uncle who knew Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour and publicly confess that in his lifetime, I say:

No chilling wind, no poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness and sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more
You have reached the promise land
You have reached the promise land
I will meet you there one of these days
Just inside the eastern gate.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

By anguillian April 5, 2013 09:40


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