O’Dean Phillips: 'He lived each day to the fullest'
The island is mourning a popular barber whose life was lost in a single vehicle collision early on Monday.
O’Dean Phillips, 35, was an up-and-coming stylist at Features Hair & Beauty on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish, where Crawl residents turned out in force this week to pay their respects.
Sharell Phillips, his mother, said last night: “He was born on my birthday – he was my lucky jewel. My whole world totally stopped when I heard the news about my beautiful boy.”
Keen to launch his own business, Mr Phillips was planning to “go big”, she said.
She added: “He lived his life freely and he lived each day to the fullest. He made it through 35 years, each day a good day.
“He left an impact on everybody he met. He was so loveable, since he was born. We had a bond that nobody could have broken.”
His sister, Robyn Phillips, now living in Scotland, said she had spoken with her brother last week about his “big future plans” and his hopes to join her overseas.
She said she and her brother were so alike they were often called twins.
She recalled growing up with him by Shelly Bay Beach in Hamilton Parish, where they fished and she taught him to swim.
She added: “I don’t know what life will be like without him.
“He was my partner in crime and my best friend. We would fight and then make up like nothing ever happened. We will always love you, O’Dean Phillips – God has taken his angel to another place.”
Charmaine Phillips, married to Mr Phillips for 13 years, said they had remained close friends after divorcing last year, and had been collaborating on plans to launch a business this year.
Mr Phillips was setting out as an image consultant, and was helping to plan a mobile styling service called PamperMe.
Ms Phillips said: “He was very much loved by his clients; he personalised everything. I was with him when he got his career going. He loved people, and he wanted them to look great – when they got out of his chair, they felt great.”
Ms Phillips called him “a carefree spirit, very creative” who was self-taught and driven as a hair stylist.
She added: “He would sit at home and practise, practice, practise – I was his guinea pig. He never let anything stop him.”
Michael Pierre, the owner and manager of Features, said that after news broke of Mr Phillips’ death, “someone told me to open the shop, not for business but to let everyone come and say their goodbyes and condolences”.
Mr Pierre said there were 60 people outside the shop, with buses and truck drivers blowing their horns as they drove past.
He added: “That’s to show you the amount of people that knew him and loved him.
“I shall miss him terribly on mornings when I open the shop and look at his station. I feel his presence is still there. It just brings tears to my eyes.”
The two worked together for more than four years, and a memorial plaque is planned for Mr Phillips’ corner of the shop.
Mr Pierre said he had initially hired Mr Phillips on a temporary basis.
“But it end up being long-term,” he said. “We formed a family relationship.”
He added: “His father had died, so I virtually took up the role of father figure to him.”
He said a similar closeness formed with his oldest son, Nyron, and his wife, Michelle, who “taught him like a mother”.
Mr Pierre said their bond was forged working six days a week over eight to ten-hour days.
He recalled Mr Phillips as a sharp dresser who was a true professional.
Prior to Features, Mr Phillips spent ten years at Ricky’s Barber Shop, at both its former North Village location and current Angle Street location.
Owner Ricky Spence said: “O’Dean was self-taught, and very talented. He worked in different cultures and styles. Because he was an artist, he just wanted to do the work.
“He would do different patterns and lines, doing women’s and men’s hair. Over the years, he just furthered his craft.”
Mr Spence added: “He touched a lot of people in a special way. He was a brilliant and nice person, and it will definitely be a big miss. I feel sorry for his mother’s loss; they were very close.”
Police have appealed for help from witnesses to Mr Phillips prior to the crash at 1am on Monday on North Shore Road, Devonshire, when he is believed to have struck a utility pole while riding east on his motorcycle.
Witnesses are asked to call the Roads Policing Unit at 247-1788 or the police number, 211.
Ms Phillips said a graveside service was planned for 2pm on Sunday at St John’s Church in Pembroke.
UPDATE: This story has been amended to include comments from Robyn Phillips, Mr Phillips’ sister.