A number of men cried openly on Monday in Point Hill, St. Catherine, as they recalled being positively influenced by a well-known shoes vendor, Zachariah Brown, better known as Jill, Shoey and World Boss.
Brown, a 70-year-old resident of Fairfield in the Point Hill area, died in hospital following a motor vehicle crash that transpired on November 21.
One of his mentees, Dalkeith Facey, broke down in tears during the thanksgiving service as he recalled frantically trying to save Brown’s life.
He explained that, on the day tragedy struck, he should have transported Brown from Point Hill. However, Brown boarded a minibus as a passenger.
Facey later happened upon a crash scene at Guanaboa Vale in St Catherine, and realized that Brown was involved.
He claimed that he alone spent some 40 minutes trying to remove Brown from the mangled vehicle, adding that a number of other people opted to merely videotape his action.
“Everybody a video mi – everybody,” Facey told mourners inside the Point Hill Church of God of Prophesy, adding that he used a few choice words at the people videotaping.
He said he was determined to ensure that Brown did not die at the crash scene although Brown repeatedly stated that he was going to die.
Facey stated that he eventually removed Brown – with help from a Rastafarian, and took him to Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
“A di fastest mi ever drive,” Facey recalled.
He continued: “Mi tek six minutes from Guanaboa Vale to reach in Spanish Town Hospital with World Boss just to save him, and yet still him gone lef mi.”
Facey, in tears, noted that the pair of shoes he wore to the funeral was acquired from Brown.
Meanwhile, Yashane Brown, a son of the deceased, remembered being ‘very ignorant’ while growing up, but he noted that his father did not give up on him.
“Him always try fi teach mi the right way; him always tell mi seh the humblest calf suck di most milk,” Yashane said while promising to honour his father’s last wish – which was to live in peace with others.
Brown’s step-son, Dennie Fairweather, in his tribute, told the congregation that he was never made to feel as though he was not a biological child of the deceased.
“Jill has played a big big part in my life; he has made me who I am,” the step-son declared, adding that he is happy to have reached the hospital before Brown drew his last breath.
“When I went and said ‘Jill i am here now‘, five seconds after that the machine went off and he died,” added a tearful Fairweather.
One of Brown’s young neighbours, Tamain Facey, who is a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, noted that he is usually a ‘tough and stern’ person, but he too struggled to hold back tears while delivering his tribute.
He recalled getting several pairs of shoes from Brown, who also gave him the shirt he wore when he was leaving Point Hill to be trained as a police officer.
“He is not my biological father, but he played that role perfectly. I remember he told me once I am going to be somebody great. I have very few believers sometimes, but Jill was a firm believer in me…” the young cop said.
He continued: “Jill lived the example and set the example of a fine friend, a good husband to his wife, a father to him son, but most of all the greatest friend of all and the best neighbour.”
The pastor who delivered the sermon, Junior Douglas, said Brown left an indelible mark on his life too.
“Brother Brown is no longer here, but I believe that his life has touched other people’s lives in a positive way,” the clergyman told the congregation while encouraging persons in earshot to live selflessly and in love.
The men’s display of respect for the deceased did not go unnoticed.
“You don’t see that much happening in our society where young men can speak so highly of an elder…” said Bishop Rodrick Douglas, who prayed for the bereaved family.
He encouraged the young men to not forget the values instilled by Brown.
“We need more of that in our society where we can motivate others,” added Bishop Douglas.
Meanwhile, at the end of the thanksgiving service, the young men performed another act of respect while they removed the casket bearing Brown’s corpse from the church.
They walked past the hearse that was parked at the exit of the church building, declaring that they wanted to carry the casket for even a short distance. According to them, Brown was deserving of the extra lift.
Brown, born 9 November 1949, was interred at Dovecot Memorial Park.
By Horace Mills, Journalist; B.A. degree in Media and Communications; CARIMAC, University of the West Indies
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