Winston Henley RHOOMS

A man is but a gift on loan to his family for a short time.

 Eulogy of My Father by Shane Edwards


A man is but a gift on loan to his family for a short time.


Saint Augustine said, “Men wonder at the height of mountains, the high waves of the sea, the broad flow of the rivers, the course of the stars and forget to wonder at themselves.”


On reflecting on the life of a son, a father, a brother, a husband and a friend, the life of Winston Henley Rhooms, his mother told us a story. She said a man held a bird in the palm of his hand, he pointed to the little boy and said: “Little boy, you tell me what to do with this bird. Should I close my hand and crush the bird to death or let the bird go free?”

The lad kept silent for a while to figure out what to say to the man then finally he said: “Let the bird live.”

The man then closed his fist and killed the bird.

The angry little boy said: “Why did you kill the bird? I begged you to free the bird.”

The man said: “Little boy, I was teaching you a lesson. The bird was not in your hand so you have no power over whether it lives or dies. If you told me to kill the bird, I would have let it go. If it is not in your hands, you have no control over it.”

So in life, we do our best and leave the rest to God, even when that best is no good.


Daddy is described in many ways, he was an extremist but extremely caring, he was ill-tempered but dependable. He was stubborn but mentally and physically strong. He enjoyed life but respected time. He was hard-working, He worked hard, he played hard and did everything in between.

He loved ambitious women, a good glass of wine, country music, cooking and reading, but most of all he loved his family.


I have been cautioned by those who know me best not to do this eulogy in Spanish but there is no way I was letting daddy rest without toasting him in Spanish. It seems my signature but what many of you do not know is that daddy is one of the main reasons I have studied Spanish. He loved the classic songs of Nat King Cole and those songs are among my first memories of Spanish. I can remember him challenging me to translate the songs for him. So in honour of Daddy

Viva nuestro papá siempre en nuestros corazones.


Daddy was a chef. His siblings recall how he woke very early on the first daylight saving time Monday, and cooked a breakfast of yam, banana, dumplings and chocolate tea. He bellowed to them to wake up. He then complained that something was wrong with the salt, because each time he added the salt he noticed bubbles and he simply did not taste the salt. On investigating, Aunt Pearl discovered that he was adding baking powder instead of salt. No matter, we had breakfast for the day, then Ruddy who owned the only radio the turned it on and discovered that it was too early. We went back to bed and everyone was late that morning.

Another lesson learned the best intentions are sometimes ill-received.



We remember that daddy made many promises and he took many wrong turns, but that describes us all, so may we in his memory: thank God for the gift of life, the ability to love and the choice to forgive.

May we remember his many successes and may God heal our broken hearts, lift up our down-trodden spirits and help us to walk humbly love goodness and act justly.


Daddy understood life, he never complained, and he accepted the consequences of his choices. He knew that in life we do not get a timeout or a reshuffle. We therefore live lives of praying, crying, anger, and if we are lucky we find happiness in a kind word, a hug, or a smile.


James Baldwin said: “The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” Daddy did not leave as he came in. He enriched many lives with his skills, his knowledge, his caring and his sharing.


Winston Henley Rhooms was born in the district of O’meally in the hills of St. Catherine on August 8, 1951. He was the first son and second child of Alfred, now deceased, and Virginia Rhooms.

He attended the Sergeant Hill All Age School. After completing his primary years he migrated to Kingston in search of a better life. In Kingston, he learned mechanics, electrical installation and driving. He then worked in each of these areas. He worked for some years assembling and installing generators. He probably loved this job most as it enabled him to travel to different parts of the island. After a while he joined the maintenance department at Desnoes & Geddes Ltd. While at D&G, he became seriously ill. After this illness, including two major surgeries, his outlook on life changed.

He opted for voluntary redundancy and began working full time in construction with his father. He does not like lazy people, one of his famous lines to the workers is and I quote “Young man caaan tiyad”.

If allowed he would work from one day to the next.

Daddy was sick for the better part of thirty years. Despite his illnesses he kept on going. On February 6, 2014 he could go no further, he passed quietly out of this life leaving wife Myrtle, children Fay, Kariff, Shane and Rapheekwon, 1 granddaughter, his mother, 9 sisters, 3 brothers, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.


Hombre es un regalado a su familia que dura breve; que viva nuestro papá siempre en nuestros corazones. He will live forever in our hearts for a man is but a gift on loan to his family for a short time.







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