Eulogy for Conrad Harris

In memory of Conrad Harris

Wednesday, 16th July, 1924 – Thursday, 27th March, 2014

THOMAS: Good afternoon friends, relatives, well-wishers and family. It is with pride that I recall Daddy, who lived a productive life as husband, father, friend. Book-keeper, payroll officer, estate manager, Justice of the Peace. Daddy was  related to Lord Harris of Britain, who has been described as the finest Governor of Trinidad, and undoubtedly inherited the acumen of his noble predecessor. Daddy held strong political views, and was an avid sports fan, especially of cricket, in which he was a fast bowler in his hey days. His favourite teams were T&T, West Indies and Brazil.

SUSAN: Conrad was a good cook and prepared many delicious dishes for his family and friends. He was particularly fond of fish. He was a man much loved in life, who will be remembered as fondly in retrospect. Conrad was born on July 16, 1924, to William Harris and Annie Bravo, in the agricultural town of Biche where he resided for his entire life. Thus not only the family has lost it patriarchal head, the community has lost a pillar. Not only a family mourns but so do members of the surrounding towns of eastern Trinidad. His was a close-knit family. From across the ocean I sent my condolences over Facebook but I am especially happy to join you in person to bid farewell to my once father-in-law. I empathise with the family who gathered around his bed on the morning of March 27, and witnessed a life ushered into eternity. If ever they wanted to experience a sacred moment this must be it, to see soft spoken and caring Daddy, a gentle soul, winging his way Heaven bound. Into the sky as blue as his eyes.

THOMAS: For all that Daddy was, and has passed on to his posterity, I salute him. My prayers remain for the comfort of our family and friends, that we will be healed and will be able to carry on in spite of the void. That the void will become a scar, a memory that does not bring pain but instead be celebrated as a milestone. A treasure. I pray that we will hold on to the hope that they can reunite one day, and live according to God’s Word so that they can indeed be reconciled for eternity.

He leaves to mourn his lifelong companion and wife, Melvina (also known as Chin), and children Patrick, Kenrick, Avian, Maureen, Verna, Daphne, Karen, William, Peter, Angela, Frederick, Aldwyn and Tex.

SUSAN: His grandchildren, Rawle, Ashmir, Amir, Nadia, Ronnie, Kevin, Sherma, Gary, Nigel, Donny, Shara, Sarah, Chantelle, Radiance, Justin, Joaiah.  One of his grandsons, Ronnell, has already welcomed him in heaven, and we have that hope too.

THOMAS: His great grand-children were also his children, and they are Rennissa, Isaiah, Kiara, Sherlana and Kailon. He was father-in-law to Amzo, Ashford, Susan, Charmaine and Marie.

SUSAN: In addition to the names above, Conrad is succeeded by his only living sibling, his sister Marion, nephews Winston, Richard and Roger, and nieces, Willis, Debbie and Jean.

THOMAS: Daddy was a nobleman in his own right and a descendant from a British baron, George Francis Robert Harris, 3rd Baron Harris (14 August 1810 – 23 November 1872). Lord Harris was also a Liberal politician and colonial administrator. He served as the Governor of Trinidad from 1846 to 1854 and Madras, India from 1854 to 1859.

SUSAN: During his tenure in Trinidad, Governor Harris revamped the education system and laid the foundation for the present-day system. He also mooted the idea of importing indentured labourers from India to replace the plantation slaves who had been freed following the abolition of slavery.

THOMAS: Governor Harris is considered to be one of Trinidad’s best ever administrators and his name hails on many prominent locations throughout the land. Lord Harris died in November 1872, at the age of 62, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Robert Harris, 4th Baron Harris, who became a successful cricketer and Conservative politician.

SUSAN: Death is often the most appropriate time to spur the living, and so I address those he has left behind. You have lived with greatness. Nobility runs in your vein, it shapes the cells in your heart, head and everywhere else. What Baron and Lord Harris possessed, you possess too. Brain, acumen, the ability to be a world changer. But unless that inheritance is tapped into, it is useless. We know the history in Britain, Trinidad and Madras. I ask you, what will your own history be? What legacy will you leave? How will you change the part of the world you belong to, the neighbourhood, the workplace? What will the next generation say of you?

Harris family, it is not enough to bask in the glory of the past; the past must inspire, and propel you to action. It is not enough to call up the honourable names of the British lords of your heritage. You, each of you, must be active in carrying on that history.

THOMAS: Who here will be the flag bearer, the shining light, the administrators and leaders? Each of you carry those characteristics in your genes, it cannot be taken from you. But you can suppress it. You can stifle the spirit of change, hope, passion and justice, of vision, and of power. Or you can ignite fires, be the change and so change your environment. Be visionary, be passionate and just. Positive and  powerful forces to be reckoned with.

SUSAN: And so I ask you to hop off the fence and choose a side, and I hope it will be the side of honour and virtue, that was carried in the Lords Harris’s and in Conrad Harris. And I also ask, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

Friends, well-wishers, family, mourn more now for yourselves than for him. Conrad lived a fruitful life. In 1924 body tissue created him, and in 2014 that body tissue must return to be deteriorated.

THOMAS: Daddy has finished the race, but he cannot bid you farewell, so you must bid him farewell instead. May the memories of this wonderful man be fixed in your hearts as a symbol of strength, an appreciation for industry and motivation into your future. May his departure be an acceptance of faith that speaks to our own mortality that ‘an ending to all fine things must be.’

SUSAN: Farewell Conrad. You were a good man.

THOMAS: Farewell Daddy. Rest in heaven’s peace.

I would like to invite you all to be part of the eulogy. Will you stand with us and recite the Lord’s Prayer…

SUSAN (leads prayer.)

Thank you.

Copyright Susan Harris 2014.

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