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PM: Williams was a great humble man

PM: Williams was a great humble man

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Former acting Governor-General Henry Harvey Williams, OBE, was laid to rest at the Kingstown Cemetery last Wednesday afternoon after a solemn service at the Methodist Church that lasted just over two hours. {{more}}

Though his widow Eileen had asked Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves not to make the affair “a big one”, out of respect for Williams’ life’s work the church overflowed.

The casket was carried into the church by members of Williams’ immediate family including his sons Harvey and Dougal, but was carried to its final resting place by members of the local constabulary.

Williams, who served as acting Governor-General from February 1988, to September 1989, was born on January 6, 1917, and died last Thursday, November 11, at his home at Fort Charlotte, leaving to mourn his loss widow Eileen, six children – Jan, Cheryl, Deon, Earlene, Harvey and Dougal. A number of relatives from abroad came out to honour Williams’ memory including his sister Mildred Dublin from Canada, Doris Robinson from Trinidad and the Rev. Allan Kirton from the United States.

Wednesday’s service started with a musical prelude which featured choruses such as, “I Am Under the Rock” and “He Touched Me”. Tributes and expressions of appreciation were given by Monty Maule, two of Williams’ grandchildren, Sir Fred Phillips and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

Sir Fred, in his heart warming tribute, recalled sharing space at law school with the man whom he called “the most outstanding Governor-General that never was”. He related how he had dreamt of his friend Henry Williams only last week Thursday, the same night he passed and that he, Sir Fred, had told this to his wife. He received a phone call the next morning from another friend and also member of the legal fraternity informing him of Williams’ passing.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in a brief tribute, characterized Williams as “a man of extraordinary humility” who touched the lives of many people. He urged the writing of the biography of the great humble man, a project he said the government would be pleased to be associated with.

The New Kingstown Chorale, which Henry Williams’ daughter Jan Horne conducts, and Kingstown Methodist Church Choir, both performed superb musical pieces.

Earlene, one of Williams’ daughters and a noted soloist, rendered “How Great Thou Art”, which made the congregation rise in spontaneous ovation before succumbing to emotion.

Williams worked as a civil servant, became a respected lawyer and later headed the National Independence Committee (NIC), which in 1979 submitted proposals to the government for a new independence constitution. He is said to have enjoyed gardening and music, playing the violin.