Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Astronomical Assn of Ja loses one of its brightest stars

Published:Wednesday | January 15, 2020 | 12:13 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Astronomer Errol Rickman speaking with The Gleaner in an interview last year.
Astronomer Errol Rickman speaking with The Gleaner in an interview last year.

If the number of persons who attend a funeral determines how much you were liked, then Errol Anthony Rickman was well loved.

Family, friends and well-wishers of the astronomer who passed away on January 3, 2020 from a heart attack at 85 years old, gathered at the Holy Cross Church on Half-Way Tree Road on Saturday to celebrate his life.

Last September, the Sunday Gleaner visited Rickman who spoke about his love for the sky and stars and his goal of ensuring that children got familiar with astronomy from an early age. The past president and treasurer, at the time of his death, of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica, was instrumental in ensuring that high schools in Jamaica had a small telescope and that Astro Clubs were established in these schools.

Last October, Rickman was a recipient of the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service for his contribution to the development of Sciences in the field of Astronomy at the National Honours and Awards ceremony.

“Errol loved astronomy, Errol lived astronomy and he sought no fame or glory for this. Errol would speak of astronomy to anyone who would listen. He would return from a funeral and report that he had met someone, and had invited them to our next event. We have lost a treasure,” said Jennifer Rowe, friend and secretary of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica.

Love FOR the stars

His son, Martin Rickman, reading the eulogy, spoke of not only his father’s love for the stars but about his love for music and poetry. He then read from one of his poems written in 2012. He added that one of the greatest lessons from his father was “the value of giving without expecting anything in return”.

“My father didn’t have much material things but he had the love of his family and the people he met, and he enjoyed doing the things he loved.

When you look up at the skies, know that he lives on and will live among the constellation and I will know we have truly lost a bright and shining star,” said Rickman.

Rickman, one of six children, had nine children of his own and is survived by widow Mignonette, 19 grandchildren, and 25 great-grand children.