Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
As I sat and thought of how I could distil the nuggets of information I
had garnered from various sources, that stanza from Longfellow’s
Psalm of Life sprang to mind as the modality which best facilitates a
genuine expression of the way we feel about the man who permitted
us to be a part of the intricate landscape of his life.
When Clyde Balfour Jones was born to the late Sydney and Genetha
Jones on the 3rd day of February, 1923 he did so with a bang and the
world was never the same again.
From all accounts he was not born great, but through careful
nurturing by his parents in his formative and early manhood years, his
desire to be the best he could be coupled with a commensurate
application of the self and the love and unwavering support of his wife
Alma of 62 years Daddy Jones, as he was affectionately called,
achieved a greatness that was once the preserve of the plantocracy,
the merchant class and royalty and yet for all of this he retained a
simplicity and humility in his dealings with those with whom he came
Daddy Jones was a true Christ Church man having lived all his life in
this parish. He was born in Scarborough but later moved to Oistins
with his parents and then to Top Rock where his greatness was
defined. Yes, his roots were in Christ Church but you will agree that
they vigorously defied all boundaries of parish or place and claimed
patrimony in both the wide vistas and the narrow corridors of
Barbados, which today bear the footprints of the man indeed the
great Barbadian man, to whom we pay our last respects.
His footprints resist a singular definition and compel us to admit of a
more kaleidoscopic mix of impressions which resonate from the rich
tapestry of his life and the solid legacy he has left for generations to
The tapestry of his life was carefully woven by the variegated threads
of his many attributes and affinities. I have been advised that Daddy
Jones was a husband par excellence, a husband who embraced the
view that nothing was too good for Al, his wife, his best friend, the
queen of his universe, with whom he traveled the world.
He made friends and formed lasting relationships wherever he went,
a truth that is evidenced by the many persons who have flown in from
as far a field as the United States of America, Canada, and England
and from as near to home as Grenada and the twin island of Trinidad
But traveling did not consume his energies. As a vibrant young man
he found time to commit to being a father and from all accounts
proved to be an excellent one to his four children, Sydney, Kenneth,
Jo-Anne and Kathy whom he loved unapologetically, an indulgent
grandfather to Donna, Lisa, Nicole, Sunita, Aesha, Quincy, Courtney,
Christian, Charles, Ashley and Ari and a proud great-grandfather of
Selina, Donovan, Alexis, Arion and Ashna.
Daddy Jones loved his family with a passion that is not rivaled by
many, a passion that has the power to survive the icy threat of death
What is noteworthy, is that he loved himself. This love of self was not
a selfish love, but one that fostered a capacity to love others
unconditionally. His warm and gregarious nature endeared him to the
young and old alike who deemed him an icon to be admired and
emulated, a symbol of hope for persons of humble beginnings.
Daddy Jones loved his country with a zealousness that manifested
itself in his engagement in the political and civic life of his country. He
was a confirmed stalwart of the Barbados Labour Party, a liberal lion
who served as a Chairman of the Southern District Council in the era
of local government. He worked assiduously to fulfill his mandate and
did so with an aplomb that attracted an award for his unwavering
service and dedication to the party. And when he was appointed a
Justice of the Peace he viewed this as just another vehicle for serving
the wider community.
What some of us may not have known or perhaps do not remember
is that Daddy Jones was a highly accomplished musician and a
fantastic dancer. He was a manager of the Troubadors band for a
number of years and as persons affiliated with that band will attest,
he kept it afloat during times of tempest and seemed to have taken a
pledge of tenacity as far as its survival was concerned.
Above all, Daddy Jones loved God. He was a devout and faithful
worshipper in this church where as part of his worship and ministry to
God he played the organ with the nimbleness and dexterity that
bespoke a true craftsman.
Emerging from humble beginnings with an understanding of the need
to serve and inspire, Daddy Jones first entered the world of work as a
mechanic at Sealy’s Garage at Bay Street, St. Michael but with God
at his side and his wife Alma behind him, in October 1948 at the age
of 25 he opened his funeral business at Top Rock and became the
Founder and Executive Director of one of the oldest funeral homes on
the island, Clyde B. Jones Funeral Home Co. Ltd..
Ably assisted by his wife and children he built a successful operation
where he offered an exceptional and professional service to the
bereaved and for which in the year 2000 he received the Barbados
Centennial Honour. The cares of his clients became his concern, and
through a life committed to serve he planted his footprints in the
funeral business and has left behind a legacy that will be preserved
by God’s grace and a diligent observance of the principle of service
This man’s footprint was meticulously fashioned by his quiet and
tenacious strength, his mesmerizing humility, blinding honesty,
selflessness, love of perfection, keen observation, enviable integrity
and his ability to make his point without raising his voice.
Daddy Jones bore his illness with admirable stoicism, determined to
be of little trouble to his wife in whose arms he died at 11:26 pm on
Monday, August 18, 2008 and to his children Kenneth and Kathy who
kept vigil at his bedside.
He died as he lived, as a peaceful giant, a great man who is sure to
hear the words we all dream of hearing when we too have run our
course – well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of
Clyde Balfour Jones, husband, father, funeral Director and astute
businessman, politician, Justice of the Peace, a servant of God and
the people of Barbados – was a great man. He has completed his
journey of life and has gone where we all hope to go one day.
Au revoir Daddy Jones and may light perpetual ever be yours.