Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
IT WAS a tearful, beautiful thanksgiving service on Thursday for Meadowbrook High School teacher Orville Heaven.
The packed congregation at the Meadowbrook United Church in St Andrew was taken on a heart-rending often humorous journey reminiscing the life of the former head of the Industrial Arts Department, who left an indelible mark on an institution he served for 19 years.
Smart, witty, charming, meticulous, hard-working, trusting, caring, helpful, positive, friendly, reliable, neat, selfless, focused, professional, disciplined, loyal, quiet, compassionate, beloved husband, a tower of strength who always greeted everyone with a broad warm smile were among the consistent terms used by those paying tribute to Heaven.
Speaking of the extraordinary impact he made on their lives, past and current Meadowbrook High students shared how much he was admired for his sharp attire with his "shiny shoes, well seamed pants and neatly cut hair".
There was never a dull moment with the admired teacher, as students Kevon Taylor and Dominic Anderson shared that students would often tease him about his balding head that they would sometimes pat and ask "how is your hair?" to which he would give out a huge laugh.
Past student Jevaughn Stewart said he owed a debt of gratitude to Heaven for helping to shape him into the man he is today, while Christopher Malcolm called his former teacher "a treasured soul".
The congregation murmured in agreement when teacher Claudette Hamilton stated, "It was not easy to know him and not love and respect it."
"He has left a good and strong legacy," she stated.
His prowess as an ardent, expert 'dominoist' was shared with much humour. His domino partner and colleague Jason Whyte showing a note that his beloved wife 'manager Gillian Heaven' had sent them once 'banning' her husband from after school extra-curricular activities. Of course, Whyte declared, it was never obeyed. The whole church burst into laughter.
On Tuesday, September 18, the 43-year-old Meadowbrook High School teacher collapsed while teaching a grade-nine class and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.