Adventists mourn passing of Aston Tai
The late Aston Tai has been lauded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a philanthropic icon for religious and social causes and has been specially praised for his commitment to the poor.
Tai, the brother of the late Lady Cooke, passed away on Saturday, April 20, in Weston, Florida, after a protracted illness. He was 93.
He was a justice of the peace for St Thomas and served on various boards, including at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the National Religious Media Commission (Love 101), the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Andrews Memorial Hospital, the Master Printers Association, and the Yallahs Community Development Committee.
“Aston was a friend and sound adviser and a source of tremendous support to me,” said Dr Patric Rutherford, former CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital. “He functioned with a quiet confidence and was not afraid or unwilling to share his wealth of knowledge he gained from his vast business experiences. He was always eager and willing to facilitate other to become successful.”
Tai was born in Glengoffe, St Catherine, and was well known for his support of community activities and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the areas of health and education.
“In my past 30 years of closely associating with Aston and his family, I have found that outside of family and the success of his farm, he gets his greatest satisfaction in helping others to succeed by freely offering advice gained by experience to those who seek it,” said Pastor Leon Wellington, former president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica.
“He is known to be generous in supporting his church and its institutions, causes that advance the public good, humanity, and especially the poor.”
Tai will long be remembered for his contribution to the Adventist Church and its institutions through the Tai Wing of the Andrews Memorial Hospital and the Aston and Novelette Tai Business and Skills Centre at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, which houses the NCU-owned Hilltop Hotel, a supermarket, a restaurant, a copy centre and the NCU bookshop.
“Besides his contributions to institutions, he and his wife supported hundreds, if not thousands, of students who could not have made it through school without their help from the elementary to the tertiary level. I have a great deal of respect for his heart of compassion and generosity.”
On August 14, 2005, Aston and his wife were conferred with Doctor of Laws degrees during the university’s graduation service for their support to the institution and Jamaica.
“His thoughtfulness and selfless service to humanity will be a lasting legacy to many families who were beneficiary of his generosity,” said Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica.
“We join his wife and family to mourn his passing and use this medium to offer the bereaved family our prayers and support as we embrace the hope that we have in the resurrection,” Brown added.
Tai is survived by wife Novelette; daughters Marlene, Carol, Beverley and Carlene; son Courtney; and other relatives.
A service of thanksgiving for Tai will be held on Sunday, May 19, at the Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church at 11 a.m. His body will be interred at a family plot in Birds Hill, Clarendon, on Monday, May 20.