Scores of mourners and well wishers turned out to celebrate the life of former educator and People’s National Party (PNP) senator, Rev Noel Keith Monteith, during a service of thanksgiving at the historic Carmel Moravian Church in Westmoreland yesterday.
There were approximately 22 tributes which highlighted the outstanding contributions of the former public servant to the fields of education, politics, the Legislature, sports, the church and the community.
Among those in attendance was Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who spoke glowingly of Monteith’s character and his contribution to the nation.
The prime minister said the Jamaican Government, the Parliament and especially the Senate, as well as the PNP, the political party to which Rev. Monteith was affiliated, are grateful beneficiaries of his wisdom, efficiency and dedication to duty.
Making reference to a passage in the Book of Proverbs, which states that a good name is to be more desired than great riches, Simpson Miller noted that Monteith, seemed to have taken that advice seriously, as his good name is known across the length and breadth of Jamaica.
She said that all who knew him can attest to the fact that he lived “a consistent life of service, integrity and generosity of spirit”.
“These characteristics ensure that he had a good name in every sphere of activity which his life embraced,” she said.
While expressing condolences to Rev. Monteith’s widow and family, the prime minister stated that all who were associated with him have lost a friend, a legislator, an organizer, an administrator and a quiet political giant.
“He had clear ideas about what was right and what was wrong and he never departed from his principles. He was a model of integrity and a beacon of service,” she said.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, in his tribute, observed that all who spoke attested to the many facets of human endeavour with which Rev Monteith was engaged and excelled.
Giving a short synopsis of the history of the Monteith family, he said that the Thanksgiving Service was in celebration of a man of the very highest pedigree.
Also bringing tributes were Custos of Westmoreland, Reverend Canon Hartley Perrin; A.J. Nicholson representing the Senate; and Minister of Education, The Hon. Reverend Ronald Thwaites.
Other attendees included former Prime Minister Bruce Golding; former Governor General, Professor Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall; several Cabinet ministers; Members of Parliament and other political associates; president of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), Clayton Hall along with many persons from within the teaching profession; and a number of Church and local community representatives.
Born on Christmas Day in 1941, Reverend Noel Keith Monteith O D, JP, died at the age of 71 years on April 24, 2013, after a brief illness. His body was laid to rest in the family plot at Kilmarnock District, Westmoreland.
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