Footprints: Heraud Ashley Fuller - Professional painter to get Maroon send-off
The Rio Grande Valley was lush and wet.
Fruit trees abounded and the rivers teemed with crayfish and other edible creatures. It was in this idyllic place, at Deans' Level in Cornwall Barracks, Portland, where Heraud Ashley Fuller's Maroon ancestors lived and died, that he was born on December 22, 1940.
His mother, Icylin, and father, Joseph, were also parents to Herby and Kenneth. He attended Comfort Castle All-Age School. And with a father who was a farmer, a mother who was a Kingston market weekend higgler, and living in a bounteous place like the Rio Grande Valley, Fuller's childhood days in that rainy place were nothing but a dream.
Yet, life in Kingston with his mother, who had moved, and his brothers was no less exciting. It was like being tossed into another world, for two weeks at first.
It was from the rural charm to the hustle and bustle of the 'concrete jungle, but he was never to return to live in Cornwall Barracks. His mother, who was also a dressmaker, needed him in Kingston, where they first lived at Darling Street.
The young man, who was called 'Bop', because he was a snazzy dresser, first became a father at 19. The man eventually sired eight children - Clive, Elaine, Rohan Ashley, Avonne, Herraud, Charmion, Harcourt and Roxanne.
"With his wife, Jennifer Johnson, he fully raised eight children in a tough part of Kingston, with good moral values and a strong work ethic," Dr Harcourt Fuller told Footprints.
In the ranks of his descendants are 24 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He has predeceased his wife.
"He was a family man, as well as a man of the communities in which he lived. As a shopkeeper he literally fed people bread and butter and other food items, even if they could not pay for it," Dr Fuller said.
After being ill for some time, Ashley, or 'Yanks' as he was popularly called, went to join his ancestors on Friday, April 8 at his home in St Andrew.
And to the valley he shall return to be interred in the Fuller family plot at Ginger House, on Sunday, May 1, after a full Maroon send-off.
"He was a colourful and memorable man who brought joy to our lives. He lived his life to the fullest, and never forgot his humble beginnings in the Rio Grande Valley. He will always be with us," Dr Fuller said.
Paul H. Williams