July 15, 2011


Fri, Jul 15, 2011

by Edgar Branch

Grafton Theophilus Constance was born on the 23rd June 1929. He turned 82 just a few days ago. He was the last of four children born to Almena Constance.

Our brother Rudolph Barrington is his older brother who attained his 90th birthday a few months ago. He still goes to his lands in Green Hill Mountain and was there as recent as last Monday measuring his ginger.

Grafton has two daughters, Diana who resides in Canada and is here with us today and Hildred who also resides in Canada but is unable to be here. His granddaughter, Aliyah and his son-in-law Ethelbert Victor (Diana’s husband) also resides in Canada.

Grafton (Grafie) married Cecilia Jackson in 1959 and they lived in their humble and comfortable dwelling at Old Montrose up to the time of his death. Cecelia was his hands and feet during his illness. She declares quite boldly that the Lord never left her nor forsook her. No doubt a great lesson in patience.

Grafton and I go back a long way. We probably joined the Geest Industries at the same time (in the 50’s). He as a lighterman and I as a tag boy.

When the deep water pier was completed in 1964 (a bit of history), there was no need for lighters to transport the Bananas to the ship anchored out in the ocean.

After Geest, Grafton took to taxi driving. It was during this time that he sought to serve the Lord more fervently. He began writing scripture verses on any kind of paper which came to hand – cigarette pack, toothpaste boxes etc so that he could memorize them for use with his passengers. Grafton often declared that it was after his conversion that the Lord taught him to read and write.

Despite the lameness in his feet, Grafton faithfully attended church regularly whether it was evangelistic services at the street corners of in the church building. Sometimes, I can see him placing both feet on a bench. Once when he was hospitalized, he asked the doctor to amputate them. This request, I suppose, was an effort to alleviate the pain.

He spent long hours trying to provide the needed funds for his family and daily needs while in the taxi business yet he found time to plant lettuce. He had no mountain, like his brother Rudolph, to go to so he planted his lettuce on his rooftop. Then, too, packets of lettuce were brought to church for distribution to members.

After he could no longer drive his taxi, he sold it. The church then provided him with a small stipend. His instruction to the Treasures, “Keep back some for the offering”. What a challenge to others.

He loved to fellowship in the church which he helped to build. May I just mention that this church, formerly “Open Bible Church”, was built by the then members of the 1950’s. Grafton, being the most able bodied man among us, was the one to put the corner stone in place.

Like all of us, he had his limitations and short comings. But he demonstrated a willingness to faithfully serve the Lord and his fellowmen. Let us remember him for these qualities.

Since the scripture declares: “Precious in the eyes of the lord is the death of his saints.” I declare not the usual, “May he rest in peace” but rather He is resting in peace.

Farewell, our friend and brother.