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Footprints: Howard Davis departs his colourful life

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2015 | 6:00 AMPaul H. Williams

From the very beginning, the story of the life of Howard Alfred Davis, born September 19, 1970, as the fourth child of Lawrence and Dorothy Davis, has been very colourful.

He was born with black and blue skin and rock-hard masses of flesh instead of muscles.

It was a result of a two-hour suffocation in the birth canal, which nearly killed him. And after one full hour of resuscitation and six months of being on life-support devices, Howard, the survivor, pulled through.

Howard was a determined, warrior child, who developed a man-sized appetite, and by age five, most of the rock-hard masses 'disappeared', and perhaps were replaced by "feistiness".

His brother, Harold, recalls him and his other siblings being put in their place whenever they teased him. They also remember his acts of treachery after being bribed to keep his mouth shut.

"Howard would take the treats, eat them and still tell on us," he says.

They were children, after all.

Howard's true colours were even brighter in church, his most comfortable zone. He was an acolyte and acted in Christmas programmes from he was six years old. He later became main actor, writer, architect, and production manager of Christmas productions.

"He was particularly proud of being a cross bearer and carried that cross with such dignity and honour ... Howard was St Boniface. He served in almost every capacity, perhaps with the exception of priest," Harold recalls of the man who went to Excelsior Primary and High schools and Community College.

In 1992, Howard joined the staff at the community college as an administrative assistant and left 18 years later as inventory manager. He also worked in St Mary at the Robins Bay Hotel as operations supervisor.

Perhaps the greatest of Howard's gifts was his penchant to connect with people at all levels.

"Howard's warm, infectious personality with his wry, and sometimes dry sense of humour, coupled with that famous belly laugh, was enough to charm even the most stoic or humble person," Harold states.

Central to Howard's life was his mother. "He was her 'wash belly'; she was his companion/friend," Harold says. In love with each other, it seems, they were. Mother and son were housemates for 42 years, helpmates, friends, and companions. "They were tight!"

And when the bond was broken by death, no one had any idea the other half of the friendship was going to make the transition so soon after.

On February 14, Howard was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. And, five weeks later, on March 22 at 7:48 a.m., he passed away peacefully in his sleep.