A son of the soil, loved by many
“I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east”
On Saturday, February 28, 2013, it seemed as if everywhere I went, people were in state of national mourning. Whether it be on Facebook or in person, there was but one topic of discussion. Even the skies were weeping with a grey mist and an almost angelic sort of rain.
A son of the “Somerset Soil” had suddenly moved onto the world of the winged warriors.
Colin “Jelly” Smith had passed.
I must admit I never knew him personally or professionally. However, his life's work has left an indelible impression on the entire country in one way or the other.
“Jelly” Smith spent his entire life participating in uplifting and maintaining the standards and banner of Somerset Cricket Club (SCC).
He was a player for Somerset Trojans during the “Silver City” years of the 1980s, coached youth teams for a number of years and then went on to join the executive to become vice-president and then president of SCC.
By all accounts he ran a tight ship and was one of those who worked behind the scenes to develop SCC's youth cricket programme that has proven to be a success in SCC's winning formula over the last few Cup Matches. Much to the rage of us loyal St George's fans.
As president, he was influential in raising the bar for Cup Match, pushing for major sponsorship and improved collaboration between SCC and St George's. This is just one example that will ensure that his legacy lives on.
Top Civil Servant
In his professional career he was the consummate professional, serving as a customs officer for many decades. As a matter of fact, the last time that I personally saw him, he was standing shoulder to shoulder with his colleagues down at Cabinet grounds for three days straight.
This exemplifies the type of person “Jelly” was. Unwavering is his support for what he believed to be right and not afraid to stand side-by-side with his colleagues.
From my understanding, this was a man that “said what he meant . . . and meant what he said”, with no apologies. A true leader in his own right.
I cannot speak to his personal life. However, I can speak to the love he had for my school friend, his niece Carmelita Trott, née Smith. I can recall during Berkeley days he would lovingly drop Carmelita off to school many times and there was this overwhelming air of “Father-like love and protection.”
So much so that most times Berkeley boys would not dare pull any prank on Carmelita for fear of the wrath of the “Big Guy”.
Clearly we all can learn lessons from the life of Mr Colin Smith. Service to community, loyal to family and consummate professionalism.
Tears and Cheers
Similar to the day he passed, the skies opened up and cried tons of tears in the early morning. Then, almost on cue, by midday the sun appeared and the masses of friends, family, work colleagues and sports persons from around Bermuda came to rally around “Jelly” one last time.
Often people pass on and only weeks later one would hear about it or read about it.
This clearly was not the case with Colin “Jelly” Smith.
The entire Island knew about it and seemingly the entire Island attended his home-going service on March 7.
This was a true testimony to a life well lived and as one tribute highlighted “the good die young but the great live just long enough to touch the many”.
It was evident that Colin touched the lives of many.
Please raise your glasses for a toast to Jelly.