Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Footprints: Balford Douglas: ‘Bedside nurse’ cared for his children

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM

'Bedside nurse'

cared for his children

On May 13, 1943, another boy, the third one, was born to Eleanor and Arnold Douglas. He was named Balford Kensington, the third of six siblings including Elkiah, Beada, Winston, Mervis and Denzil.

The family resided at Blue Hole, St Catherine, and Balford attended Marlie Hill Elementary School.

In his early 20s, and known as 'Popsie', Balford met Valrie Simpson, from Conners. They got married in 1970.

The marriage produced nine children - Dorette, Deon, Simone, Julene, Debbie, Natalee, Maxine, Mark and Yvonne.

Balford Douglas died on Wednesday, August 20, leaving his wife, seven daughters and a son, three sons-in-law, 14 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, two sisters, three brothers, many relatives and friends.

At his funeral, he was eulogised as "a very responsible father, caregiver and provider".

"Daddy was the proverbial 'father who mothered' his children. Daddy was bedside nurse to his children, sometimes going all night. He wept when he couldn't help them, and was most happy when he had them all around him," said Elaine Edwards, a family friend.

The man who earned a living as a driver and mechanic in various places was said to be a reliable and skilful.

He was extolled as "an exemplary and honest worker who was frequently entrusted with thousands of dollars to travel between Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Manchester, Westmoreland and St Ann to buy and haul pimento for the Chin Loy establishment".

"He was a good counsellor who often encouraged the youngsters to work hard and take care of their children ... I learnt that young men would turn up to watch him work and learn from his technique and expertise ... His workers all testified of his kindness and caring, father-like attributes," Edwards said of the man who was mentor to many a youth.

Friendship was important to Douglas, so he had many friends, and associates.

"His many friends and colleagues were integral to his being ... There was never a dull moment in Mr Popsie's company. He was always jovial and playful and greeted his friends with rather colourful expressions. He cherished his many friends and enjoyed good relationships," Edwards told Footprints.

"He has undeniably left a legacy, a blueprint of how to love without strings attached."

- Paul H. Williams