Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Veteran journalist Gary Spaulding celebrated at thanksgiving service

Published:Sunday | July 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Andre Spaulding (forefront), son of the late Gary Spaulding, carries the urn as he leads his siblings from the Portmore Gospel Assembly in Portmore, St Catherine, where his father’s thanksgiving service was held yesterday.
From left: Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Cabinet ministers Derrick Smith, Olivia Grange and Audley Shaw; and Opposition Member of Parliament Anthony Hylton take part in the thanksgiving service.
Gary Spaulding’s children (from left) Kelsie, Kendra, Andre, Kerry, Kayla and Tevaughn recite a poem in tribute to the veteran journalist during his thanksgiving service.

There were no empty seats at the Portmore Gospel Assembly in St Catherine yesterday, testament to the scores of persons who turned out in their numbers to celebrate the life of Gary Wayne Spaulding at his thanksgiving service.

Spaulding's love for his children, profession, sports and alma mater, Kingston College, did not escape the minds of the many persons who gave tributes, including schoolmate Dr Christopher Charles, who recalled his passion for athletics and brilliance as a student.

"Gary was very knowledgeable from schooldays. When we went to Champs (ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships) and the rest of us were mesmerised by the girls in their skimpy athletic wear, it was Gary, backed by Lorenzo (Dawes), who pointed out Jacqueline Pusey and Merlene Ottey (athletes), among others, and reported to us the times they ran in the previous year," he told the gathering.

"In our many boisterous conversations about Jamaican politics, we would always tap into Gary's vast knowledge for fact checking and clarification," Charles said.

"Gary was kind and a selfless giver. It was Gary who read my first set of papers, as a young academic, and corrected them with humility and gave me a lesson in writing," he continued.

"Gary, over many years, used his vast social network of influential contacts in Jamaica to help a lot of people."

Erica Virtue, during her tribute on behalf of The Gleaner, never minced words as she imagined conversations with Spaulding hitting or praising the political directorate.

"If Gary was here with blood coursing through his veins, heart pumping, high pressure and all, we would talk about Brexit - the British vote to leave the EU (European Union) - and he would be dying with laughter before chiming in with his characteristic, 'a wah wrong wid dem? Is the same set of idiots Donald Trump riling up in the USA'. And I would agree," she said.

"If Gary was here, he would say 'Kayla (his daughter) gone to Holy Childhood', and I would say 'Give her hugs for me'. Because that's how we were. We knew and cared about each other's children. Those of us who knew and loved him did so in spite of all his faults. Since no earthly being has come back from the afterlife, we suggest that Gary is today at rest," Virtue said in her tribute.


Spaulding's love for country


In the meantime, Derrick Smith, leader of government business in the House of Representatives, in his reflection on 20 years of friendship with the veteran political reporter, encouraged mourners to always keep in mind Spaulding's love for country and the quality work he left behind.

"He loved the challenge of an election campaign. He spent a lot of time discussing political issues and exchanging views and how he felt they would be concluded. He had a lot of knowledge about political history and character. I learnt so much from him as we exchanged recollection and expressed our views," he said.

"My family and I will certainly miss his presence in our lives. We will not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the grief promoted by his passing. We would prefer to recall those days and nights we spent together as friends and companions in the struggle to build a nation of which we can be proud," he charged.

Spaulding, 52, is survived by his father; children Andre, Kerry, Kendra, Tevaughn, Kayla and Kelsie; brothers, sisters, other relatives, and his media family.