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MoBay convention centre overflows with George Thomas mourners

Published:Sunday | September 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The coffin of late president of the Cornwall Bar Association, George Thomas, being carried from the Montego Bay Convention Centre by his son, Martyn Thomas (right), and Errol Bernard (left), and other relatives and friend last Saturday during the thanksgiving service.
The family of the late George Thomas at his thanksgiving service on Saturday.

Western Bureau:

Funeral coordinators were forced to find extra chairs to accommodate the thousands who turned out to bid farewell to late attorney-at-law George 'Timo' Thomas, whose presidency of the Cornwall Bar Association was cut short by a fatal collision.

The crowd that spilt outside the massive ballroom at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last Saturday morning gave credence to the impact the former Cornwall College pole vault champion had on the lives he touched.

Four days of celebration fit for a king, the activities recognising 'Timo' commenced last Wednesday with a march, a candlelight vigil at his alma mater, Cornwall College, a special sitting of the Western Region Gun Court, and three get-togethers - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - were complemented by a thanksgiving service punctuated with entertaining wittiness.

Within no time, the four-hour service was complete, but not before some of the most spine-tingling tributes were read, recited or sung, celebrating the man dubbed an advocate, a mentor to young lawyers and prosecutors, a father who was looked upon as a hero, a solid, grounded, honest man, a friend who eventually became a brother, a man who feared heights, loved the arts, and competed as an athlete of no mean order in his young days.

George Thomas had all those attributes attached to his name, and much more.

"Even when he was absent, he had a presence that was always felt," said attorney and friend, Nathan Robb, who spoke glowingly of a man who had a 'humanness', whose success was not always about winning, but one who was willing to accept and learn from his losses.

"He saw law and lawyers as inseparable," stated Robb.

Thomas' best friend, attorney-at-law Tom Tavares-Finson, who was featured on the programme, was unable to deliver his tribute. Instead, his brother filled the void and read the tribute from Tavares-Finson, who wore a pair of sunshades and sat with his wife, Rose, during the service, looking solemn. The two attended law school in England, were inseparable, and spoke just about every morning.

"He was an avid art collector. We competed as art lovers. He loved his children unreservedly and spoke of his better half, Andrea, as his rock. He said he couldn't live his life without her," said Tavares-Finson in his tribute.




Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, who was also a friend of Thomas, spoke of a man to whom friendship meant a lot; while Martyn Thomas, son of the late lawyer, described his father as his hero and a doer who had a gift of knowing what needed to be done and who needed to do it.

"If I can be half the man that you are, do half the things that you did, have half the impact you had on the lives you touched, I will be alright," said the younger Thomas, who also serves as a lawyer in his father's firm.

Thomas died leaving three children, including Melissa and Maurice, and his significant other, Andrea Lyle.

His body will be cremated at a later date.

Others in the attendance included former Prime Minister Bruce Golding; government ministers Patrick Atkinson and Mark Golding; Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw; general secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party and family friend, Dr Horace Chang; Deputy Speaker of the House Lloyd B. Smith; several judges and members of the legal fraternity.