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James ‘Rapier’ a Montserrat stalwart of a gentler kind is laid to rest

James Rapier Meade

Another Montserrat icon of differing status from those who have within the past few months, in the person of James ‘Rapier’ Meade. He died  on  January 9, 2011.

James Meade, Rayper, as it was pronounced and very much more affectionately known, was born February 23, 1931 and lived most, or considered all his life in Montserrat. He is known to have lived a simple life and as said of him, the first words that come to mind are “loving, helpful and kind.”

He was the second of five children and is survived by his wife Margaret and seven children, Sylvester, Beryl, Mc Kenzie, Raquel, Craig, Eckron and Aldeen.

A funeral service was held for ‘Rayper’ at the R.C St. Martin de Porres church in Salem. There, in a tribute (eulogy) of his life his life was very well described, for if there was anything slightly unpleasant, which in itself reflected the kindness and gentleness of the man is that it was said he drove his bus/taxi ‘too slow’.

For most of his life he worked in the tour, travel, tourism and airline operating business beginning as garage mechanic right out of school, to becoming a taxi driver alongside some of the popular names from the 50s, 60’s, 70s and onward. It was there as it was said in the eulogy, “being a taxi driver for many years he developed many friendships and had some long serving clients.” It is also said that “on his many trips to and from the airport, he never passed anyone on the road, especially school children. The same was true for his trips to and from home in St. Patrick’s where he was born and lived.

As the recipient of a Funkyman Award for his impact on tourism and the community as a whole, is testament to his services.

It was out of that he began operating the airport bar and then Blackburne airport, destroyed in 1997 from the onslaught of Soufriere Hills volcano.

Rayper almost up to his dying had been associated with activities surrounding the airport and the travel industry. He worked for LIAT and assisted passenger check-in and was sometimes, often in fact the first person one saw when the aircraft door opened after touching down at Blackburn. He went on to work with Montserrat Aviation Services Ltd. He officially transported the staff, air cargo to and from Plymouth and helped out the post office with its cargo when their vehicle was inoperable.

His eulogy recalled that after Hugo when the first documentaries were televised of the islaned he was seen in some of them and someone commented, “if Rayper is alive that means people would be ok on the island.”

James Rapier Meade

A lover of animals, he loved  sports especially cricket, and must have played dominoes in every bar on the Island. He is described as ‘an ardent Catholic’ who did not just attend church, but supported in all activities wherever it was possible for him to do so. He collected the collection at church every Sunday up to the end except when he was  hospitalised.

His children recall: “He knew the value of education and ensured that his children read books, and their homework done on time.” If he came home and they were watching television he would enquire: “You finish your homework? Well go and do it, dem people dy done mek dem money.”

Listening to the news was a daily along with reading the newspaper, as he thought, you should educate yourself with what is happening in the world you live in.

In the end it is said of him: “Rayper’s helpfulness and kindness was shown not only to his family, but to anyone he came into contact with. He was a good father and he taught his children to be respectful to their elders. He will also be missed by the wider community. “He will no longer be the slowest bus driver, but will mostly be remembered for his kindness, helpfulness and charisma.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

James Rapier Meade

Another Montserrat icon of differing status from those who have within the past few months, in the person of James ‘Rapier’ Meade. He died  on  January 9, 2011.

James Meade, Rayper, as it was pronounced and very much more affectionately known, was born February 23, 1931 and lived most, or considered all his life in Montserrat. He is known to have lived a simple life and as said of him, the first words that come to mind are “loving, helpful and kind.”

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He was the second of five children and is survived by his wife Margaret and seven children, Sylvester, Beryl, Mc Kenzie, Raquel, Craig, Eckron and Aldeen.

A funeral service was held for ‘Rayper’ at the R.C St. Martin de Porres church in Salem. There, in a tribute (eulogy) of his life his life was very well described, for if there was anything slightly unpleasant, which in itself reflected the kindness and gentleness of the man is that it was said he drove his bus/taxi ‘too slow’.

For most of his life he worked in the tour, travel, tourism and airline operating business beginning as garage mechanic right out of school, to becoming a taxi driver alongside some of the popular names from the 50s, 60’s, 70s and onward. It was there as it was said in the eulogy, “being a taxi driver for many years he developed many friendships and had some long serving clients.” It is also said that “on his many trips to and from the airport, he never passed anyone on the road, especially school children. The same was true for his trips to and from home in St. Patrick’s where he was born and lived.

As the recipient of a Funkyman Award for his impact on tourism and the community as a whole, is testament to his services.

It was out of that he began operating the airport bar and then Blackburne airport, destroyed in 1997 from the onslaught of Soufriere Hills volcano.

Rayper almost up to his dying had been associated with activities surrounding the airport and the travel industry. He worked for LIAT and assisted passenger check-in and was sometimes, often in fact the first person one saw when the aircraft door opened after touching down at Blackburn. He went on to work with Montserrat Aviation Services Ltd. He officially transported the staff, air cargo to and from Plymouth and helped out the post office with its cargo when their vehicle was inoperable.

His eulogy recalled that after Hugo when the first documentaries were televised of the islaned he was seen in some of them and someone commented, “if Rayper is alive that means people would be ok on the island.”

James Rapier Meade

A lover of animals, he loved  sports especially cricket, and must have played dominoes in every bar on the Island. He is described as ‘an ardent Catholic’ who did not just attend church, but supported in all activities wherever it was possible for him to do so. He collected the collection at church every Sunday up to the end except when he was  hospitalised.

His children recall: “He knew the value of education and ensured that his children read books, and their homework done on time.” If he came home and they were watching television he would enquire: “You finish your homework? Well go and do it, dem people dy done mek dem money.”

Listening to the news was a daily along with reading the newspaper, as he thought, you should educate yourself with what is happening in the world you live in.

In the end it is said of him: “Rayper’s helpfulness and kindness was shown not only to his family, but to anyone he came into contact with. He was a good father and he taught his children to be respectful to their elders. He will also be missed by the wider community. “He will no longer be the slowest bus driver, but will mostly be remembered for his kindness, helpfulness and charisma.”