Hundreds say farewell to ‘The Housing General’ Easton Douglas
His ambition of becoming a medical doctor was never realised, but Easton Douglas' relatives, friends, associates, and devotees all agree that he was a spirited and staunch public servant whose contribution to housing development and urban planning is unsurpassed.
During a thanksgiving service to celebrate the life of the public servant at the St Andrew Parish Church yesterday, former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller described Douglas as diligent, passionate, and persistent when it came to providing housing for the poor and marginalised.
"Most of the housing that was done for the poor in this country was done through Easton Douglas," Simpson Miller shared in her tribute to loud applause.
"He was instrumental in the rebuilding of families through his passion and fearlessness in providing decent housing for thousands of Jamaicans. His contribution to the building of communities across Jamaica will never be erased."
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said that Douglas' skills in physical planning and urban development were formidable, resulting eventually in his appointment as chief town planner.
"He was passionate about town planning. In one conversation after another, he would expound on the intricacies and exciting rewards of the craft," said Patterson.
"He was a complete and exemplary public officer who earned well-deserved commendations."
A CHARMING MAN
Douglas' daughter, Kari, who read the remembrance on behalf of her uncle, said that her father made a lasting mark on the country's development through his life and work.
"His character was irreproachable and his integrity beyond question. Jamaica is better off for the life of this outstanding gentleman," she read.
Meanwhile, on the outside, at the end of the service attended by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Cabinet ministers, and the top brass of the People's National Party, one funeral-goer who gave her name as Suzanne smiled broadly. Her reason: "Whenever I think of how charming a man he was I can't help but smile. I've lived in South East St Andrew from I was a child, and I have nothing but praise for him. He worked tirelessly to further not just his constituency, but the country, and he was a people person. He deserves to rest."
Douglas, who died at age 81 on August 26, was a former minister of housing, health, public service, and environment. He also served as permanent secretary in the ministries of national security and housing in the late 1970s and 1980s. He was member of Parliament for South East St Andrew from 1989 until 2002 when he retired.