Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Science sage Lalor praised as ‘deep thinker’

Published:Tuesday | August 24, 2021 | 12:08 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
Professor Gerald Lalor.
Professor Gerald Lalor.

One of Jamaica’s foremost authorities on environmental and nuclear sciences and decorated scientists, Professor Gerald Lalor, is being mourned after his passing Sunday night at the age of 90.

Yesterday, RJRGLEANER Communications Group Chairman Joseph Matalon, who worked alongside Lalor for many years during the latter’s tenure as director of The Gleaner since 1990 and honorary chairman from 2005-2014, applauded the “deep thinker” for a “wonderful innings”.

“I think he made a huge contribution to The Gleaner over many years, only dwarfed, frankly, by his scientific contribution to the society and world at large. He had a wonderful innings and for that I think we can all be grateful and truly celebrate a great son of Jamaica,” Matalon told The Gleaner, also noting the humility, integrity and efficiency with which he embodied.

The RJRGLEANER’s Honour Awards programme benefited for over a decade from Lalor’s leadership as he chaired its committee.

Matalon recalled working with Lalor while he was deputy chairman of The Gleaner Company and saluted the impact of a man he described as a scientist whose prowess would be recognised anywhere in the world.

Lalor graduated from The University of the West Indies, Mona, in 1953 with a BSc degree in physics, chemistry and mathematics and after undertaking studies and research at several universities in England and the United States, would later become the the first West Indian lecturer and eventually head of The UWI, Mona’s Chemistry Department before being appointed principal and pro-vice- chancellor.

For his seminal contribution to science and technology, Professor Lalor was conferred with the Order of Jamaica, the Musgrave Gold Medal, the Philip Sherlock Award for Excellence, the Normal Manley Award for Excellence, the Centenary Medal of the Institute of Jamaica and The Gleaner Annual Award, to name just a few.

A “true nation builder”

RJRGLEANER Communications Group Chief Operating Officer Christopher Barnes yesterday noted that Lalor would be sorely missed.

“He always felt that The Gleaner, as the newspaper of record, as a key influencer of development for Jamaica, needed to play the role of promoter of science and the need for its integration into all facets of societal development. One needn’t look too far to find evidence that he was indeed right,” Barnes said of a man he called a “true nation builder”.

“Take, for example, our current monumental challenge to our country from COVID-19, where it is the scientific approach that will lead in helping us to defeat the pandemic. I can just imagine the rich conversations we would be having were he still seated around the board table at 7 North Street,” he continued.

Lalor married Noelle Madeline Cameron in 1948 when he was just 18 years old. She predeceased him just two months shy of their 70th wedding anniversary.

Mark Lalor, the youngest of four children – three boys and a girl – recalled that although his father was career-driven from the start and most of the child-rearing was left to their mother, his impact on the household was felt in spite of the public’s demand on his time.

“He always provided a good support system and made sure we all got a good education. He also ensured that we all strove to be the best that we could and provided counsel at all times,” he recalled.

“He was not one that that was full of words and partying but a great father figure and a great role model for all his children,” said Mark.