Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Red roses to June Isaacs from Gregory - Widow loved 'Cool Ruler' through drug issues

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 2:50 AMMel Cooke
The cover of Gregory Isaacs' album 'Red Rose for Gregory'.
Gregory Isaacs
June Isaacs (right), widow of the late Gregory Isaacs, with Isaac's former manager Copeland Forbes at the Constant Spring Golf Club, St Andrew, on Sunday evening.
Members of Atlantic Starr at the Constant Spring Golf Club, St Andrew, on Sunday night.
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June Isaacs, Gregory Isaacs' widow, smiled as she said she received red roses "all the while" from her late husband. She also smiled, though with less outright joy than at the memory of the flowers, as she recalled the effect of his cocaine habit on her.

"It affected me mentally, physically, financially," Isaacs told The Gleaner on Sunday after a press conference held at the Constant Spring Golf Club when the Red Rose for Gregory concert, staged by the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, was postponed because of rain.

The event's primary beneficiary would have been Patricia House. And when it is finally staged 'a "large portion" of the proceeds will still go to the drug rehabilitation facility, Isaacs said. Based on her experiences with Gregory, she said, if there is anything she could do to assist anyone battling addiction, she would.

With the concert's inaugural staging originally slated for two days before Valentine's Day 2017, the links among Gregory and June Isaacs, love, and Gregory's cocaine use were inescapable.

In a story headlined 'The Gregory Isaacs I Knew', published on Ocober 31, 2010, Gleaner writer Christopher Serju said that in a 1988 interview, Gregory lamented the incalculable price he paid for the addiction. He described it as dangerous and costly, as he lost freedom, love, respect, money, friends and privacy through drugs.

It did not cost him June's love, though. "Love never died, never dipped. We lived separately at one point because of the drug thing. But I will always love," June said, adding that the love is too strong for her to not love Gregory.

June added she used to feel sorry for him, but her respect never declined. "I tried to do so much to help him," June said.

In the 1988 interview Gregory said "it's the greatest college I've been to the Cocaine High School but also the most expensive school fees that I have ever paid ... I learnt a lot from it, both good and bad. I wouldn't encourage anybody to try it."

And he did not want to see June with even a cigarette. "Is a good guy, treat me like a princess. Proper, proper man, me nuh need nutten," June said.

June and Gregory Isaacs were married on December 1, 1983. He died on October 25, 2010 in London, England.

Red Rose for Gregory tonight

The Red Rose for Gregory concert will be held tonight at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, Jamaica College, Old Hope Road, St Andrew. The line-up remains the same with the exception of PACKAGE, the female trio having been booked for another show previously. Showtime is 8 p.m and all tickets previously purchased are valid. Tickets will also be available at the gate. The featured performers include Atlantic Starr, Christopher Martin and Ikaya.