Mass Willie gets a century, Tucker celebrates
While there is a popular saying that, age is just a number, for Claudius Taylor, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, it was reason enough for a grand celebration - thanking God for his long life and his wonderful family.
The special event, which took place at the centenarian's home in Tucker, St James, was quite colourful, as accolades and gifts of varying degrees and sizes were showered on the man community members affectionately call 'Mass Willie'.
Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, the minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Montego Bay Mayor Glendon Harris; and Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, were among the hundreds of persons from Tucker and surrounding communities, who turned out for the grand celebrations.
Taylor, who was born on October 6, 1915 in Maldon, grew up between Maldon and the neighbouring Summer Hill community, where he attended elementary school.
After completing school, Taylor made quite a name for himself in agriculture, becoming a renown farmer and businessman.
In paying tribute to the centenarian, Ffolkes-Abrahams said 'Mass Willie' had earned the reputation of being a hardworking, devoted, well-loved and quite respected father figure. She went on to applaud his sterling contributions to the community of Tucker, where he has been living for more than 70 years.
"Mr Taylor has been regarded as a man of integrity and a great example of the type of father/male figure and mentor for community members, which is, sadly, lacking in today's family structures," said Ffolkes-Abrahams. "He stands as a good example of how fathers and grandfathers can positively impact society."
Ffolkes-Abrahams went on to describe the celebrations as 'wonderful and befitting,' saying Taylor fully deserved all the accolades and expressions of love extended to him.
In praising the centenarian's longevity, Mayor Harris said it must be a source of great joy to the Taylor family to have someone among them reaching 100 years old, who is still able to offer advice and godly instructions.
"Mr Taylor, I congratulate you on the achievement of this great milestone and wish for you some more blessed days here on earth," said Harris. "In recognition of your attainment of centenarian status, I am pledging, in the presence of these people gathered here, that Taylor Lane, where you live, will see some improvements before Christmas. A wall will be built near the gully and some material used to pave the lane."
Family member, Dr Gwendolyn Dowe, said Taylor was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who was always there for his family.
"Maas Willie has always been there for the family, offering security, love and wise counsel, while maintaining a good lifestyle based on sound character ...," said Dr Dowe. "This is the best gift any parent can give and the greatest duty that they can discharge to their offspring ... he has surely blessed the world with beauty of character and warmth of spirit and is most deserving of this kind of recognition and appreciation."