Scores send off Ezroy Millwood, the fearless fighter
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
All seats were taken inside the St Andrew Parish Church yesterday as mourners paid last respects to Ezroy Fitzalbert Millwood, the no-nonsense bus man who engaged the Government in a more-than-decade-long battle.
Eulogised as a passionate, combative, anti-injustice campaigner, and one who hated corruption but never held a personal grudge, Millwood was remembered by family and friends in glowing tributes.
The self-made businessman rose from being a gravedigger in the United Kingdom to supervisor of graves, timekeeper with London Transport, and insurance salesman, before becoming the face of the National Transport Co-operative Society (NTCS).
He was to lead that sometimes-undisciplined and much maligned group of transport owners and operators until his death on December 1.
Yesterday, he was recognised by the NTCS as a champion who never took the gloves off.
"Ezroy was a champion who dared to challenge the might of the Government in defence of public-transportation owners and small public-transportation operators.
"I recall many meetings when it appeared that we were at an impasse and Ezroy would bow his head, as if in deep thought, unconcerned with what was unfolding around him," said Glendon Harris, who gave tribute on behalf of the NTCS.
"Suddenly, he would raise his head and speak with clarity, addressing the thorny issue. And when he was through, all and sundry would be totally satisfied," added Harris.
He told the mourners that his relationship with Millwood went back to 1984, and said there was much more to Millwood than a fighter, but many never saw that side of him.
Harris, the mayor of Montego Bay, said Millwood was a sensitive philanthropist and deeply spiritual man who used his gifts to bless others.
Millwood, Harris said, used his buses to transport persons to churches, sponsored activities for children and the elderly, and assisted needy parents.
"While he would be conciliatory, he didn't suffer fools gladly. He was combative. Combative because he knew his fight was a just one. It was one he relished, and we, the members of the National Transport Co-operative here today, are a cohesive unit. This is because Ezroy Millwood, led us the way he did," said Harris.
The late Millwood's fight with the Government would endear him to the more than 500 owners/operators, but he was often a thorn in the side of successive administrations as he fought for compensation for the NTCS following the termination of their contract by the Government.
His daughter, Kamal Millwood, in her tribute, said her heart was saddened as she and her siblings would have to contemplate life without their father, who loved them unconditionally.
She recalled how her father's signature throat-clearing sound was the sound of authority - one that got everyone's attention.
"Dad, I never got to tell you enough how much you truly mean to me and that you were the best dad, better than any man could hope to be. The last time I talked to you, I wish I had known. I would have said 'I love you', and kept you on the phone," she said through tears.
In his tribute, Bertram Millwood, retired assistant commissioner of police and brother of the late NTCS boss, said Ezroy loved his family and had a deep sense of humour.
The former cop said his brother soared to great heights, through hard work and discipline, and developed an overwhelming social conscience which enhanced his status as a brother and true friend of all.
"He would embark on every venture with remarkable commitment and discipline," Bertram Millwood recalled.
Millwood's remains were interred in the church cemetery.