Mon | Oct 23, 2017

'Live like Delly' - Mourners urged to exude passion and purpose of fallen St George's College footballer

Published:Sunday | October 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
St George’s College’s Manning Cup team (left) and Jamaica College’s Manning Cup team (right) form a guard of honour as the coffin bearing the body of Dominic James leaves the Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street in Kingston yesterday.
Dominic James’ aunt, Valrey Neil (centre), comforts her brother, David James (left), and sister-in-law, Denese James, as they mourn at the funeral for their son at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street in Kingston yesterday.
Neville Bell (left), coach of the St George’s College Manning Cup football team, comforts a weeping team member, John Wilson, during the funeral.
Members of the Jamaica College football team walk by the coffin after their tribute to former team member Dominic James.
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Dominic James' sudden passing brought many to tears, but mourners who turned out yesterday for his thanksgiving service were encouraged to focus on the exemplary life he lived and his infectious smile - the talking points among the many persons who gave tributes.

The service was also a tribute to his parents, David and Denese James, who were commended for the good values they taught their son while he was alive and the strength they displayed during a very difficult time.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was packed to capacity, saw the attendance of government ministers, members of the football fraternity, students and other well-wishers.

Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, indicated that though Dominic lived a short life, his outstanding football skills and leadership qualities would not be forgotten.

"I have always held the view that parents shouldn't have to bury their children, but I also believe in God's abiding will. (Dominic's) passing has cut through all generations and I pray for God's guidance, especially for his parents. I do believe that God will see us through," Green told the gathering.

"The ministry joins the nation in paying tribute to Dominic James - son, student, friend and ace footballer. He was easily recognised by his coach Neville Bell (coach of the St George's College football team) as he was chosen to lead his team... . It obviously speaks volumes to his strength of character and his tenacity, to leave one school and attend another school and move up in a competitive area such as football to the role of captain."

 

Spirited tribute

 

Gregory Jones, who was Dominic's coach and teacher while he was a student at the Emmanuel Christian Academy in St Andrew, brought the audience to their feet after a spirited tribute which expressed gratitude to the footballer's parents for their dedication and commitment.

"One of the things that struck me about Dominic James was his heart. He looked like a midget among giants, but he had a big heart. He was a straight-A student, an excellent boy. I want to encourage us to live like Delly (Dominic's nickname). Live with passion, he had a passion; live with purpose, he had a purpose, he wasn't easily swayed; and live positive," he said.

"Thank you, Mr and Mrs James (David and Denese) for choosing to send him to Emmanuel Christian Academy, the school is a better school because of Dominic James. Thank you for allowing us to be part of his life. He started at the royal blue (Emmanuel), then transitioned to the true blue (Jamaica College), then the sky blue (St George's College) and now he is in a better place," he declared.

 

Anchored on the principles of God

 

His aunt, Shirlette Thomas-Gooden, noted that she was most grateful that his values were anchored on the principles of God.

"He was so filled with the love of God which just overflowed with a smile. He was always so respectful; whenever he's addressing me he never leaves off 'Aunty'. He was not afraid to say 'I love you', no matter your gender," she recalled.

"I'm happy because, as a family, I know we spent a lot of time with him but I am sad because we won't have that chance anymore. I am grateful because I saw the child, the boy and the man he had become," she declared.

James, 18, died last month after he collapsed during his team's ISSA-FLOW Manning Cup match against Excelsior High at the Stadium East field in Kingston.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com