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Goodbye, Dr Stokes - Jamaica says farewell to former Gleaner editor-in-chief

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Veronica Stokes, widow of the late Dr Dudley Stokes, solemnly makes her way out of the Boulevard Baptist Church with the urn bearing her husband's ashes, after the service yesterday. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

Scores of mourners from the media fraternity, the Church, the army, and friends, joined family members to bid farewell to the late Dr Dudley Clifford Stokes in an inspirational thanksgiving service at the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew yesterday.

Several moving tributes were presented as persons remembered a man who straddled several aspects of Jamaican life.

Among them was Jamaica Defence Force Captain Sonia Harris, who remembered the man who served in the rank of captain, first class.

According to Captain Harris, Dr Stokes was "a dignified military man who needed no reminder of the expectations of a military officer".

Stokes, who served as editor-in-chief at The Gleaner Company between 1986-1992, was remembered by chairman and managing director, Oliver Clarke, for his quiet determination and tenacious spirit during his tenure in the post.

Clarke described Dr Stokes as someone who was solid, creative and balanced in his role as editor-in-chief, as well as one who was committed to the development of young journalists.

Touched many lives

"Dudley was a public person. He gave and he gave. I can think of no other Jamaican who has worked in so large and a variety of activities and touched so many people," Clarke said, adding that Stokes never knew how to slight or embarrass anyone.

Clarke used the opportunity to point the nation towards seeking solutions to the crime problem hurting the country.

"Right now, Dudley is standing at the Pearly Gates ... concerned about the confusion that engulfs the country, but he is already starting work to see what advice he can give to us. Dudley is already working out what contribution he can make to help us stop this appalling toll of murder that is engulfing this country," Clarke said.

Not to be outdone was Eglon Stewart, who spoke on behalf of Cornwall College where Dr Stokes served as headmaster from 1978-1984.

"Dudley Stokes came when there was much concern for the deteriorating standard of discipline at our school ... . His approach to discipline was met with much quiet resistance from teachers and students alike. With his commitment to the school, it did not take long for him to win the admiration of those around him," he said.

Talmage 'Tal' Stokes, his son, who spoke on behalf of the family, remembered his father as "a brave and proud man, even in his most private ways", adding that he spent his lifetime touching "thousands of lives in a meaningful way".

Stokes is survived by widow, Veronica, children, Talmage, Dudley, Nelson, Christian and Adrienne.