2008 Obituaries

Harwell ‘Harry’ McCoy Sr.OBE, BEM, JP – 23 February, 1919 – 19 January, 2008

Founder of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and Past President of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Harwell ‘Harry’ McCoy, served with distinction in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves as a young man. He was one of only two Caribbean officers to receive a British Empire Medal.

During his long and illustrious civil service career, Harry McCoy was appointed to several key posts including those of Director of Social Services; and Permanent Secretary in the Portfolio of Communications and Works.

In his last government post, he spearheaded the formation of Radio Cayman, the modernisation of the George Town Port facilities and the island-wide roads system.

Mr. McCoy was the first chairman of the Port Authority and in the latter stages of his career served on several occasions as Chief Secretary.

The Harry McCoy Sr. Park in Bodden Town, opened on 19 January, was named in his honour.

Teeluck Kenneth Chand – 2 June, 1948 – 6 February, 2008

Ken Chand began his insurance career in Guyana, before immigrating to Canada, where he worked for several major international insurers. Mr. Chand was the longest serving Manager at Motor & General Insurance Company for 20 years, and at his untimely passing on Ash Wednesday was widely recognised and respected as an industry expert and one of the most qualified motor insurance professionals in Cayman. Mr. Chand made countless contributions to local charitable organisations, providing sponsorship and support to worthy community and humanitarian causes. He took quiet pride in keeping an open door to counsel and offering practical advice and assistance. He was a member of the Cayman Islands Insurance Association, the Kiwanis Club of Seven Mile Beach and a founding member of Cayman Against Substance Abuse.

William Walker OBE – 27 March, 1926 – 1 July, 2008

Founder of WS Walkers and Company and later Attorneys-at-Law, William ‘Bill’ Walker started his legal career as a sole practitioner in 1967. During his time as senior partner Walkers subsequently grew into the global firm it is now with offices worldwide. He retired from the firm in 1999.

A legal pioneer and one of the founding fathers of the islands’ financial sector, Bill Walker went on to help found law firm Stuarts Walker Hersant, formerly Stuarts in 2002.

Advisor to successive governments on financial sector legislation, he was founder and former chairman of the Caledonian Group of companies. Bill Walker was also a founder member of both the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Cayman Islands Law Society.

Althea McLaughlin – 3 August, 1927 – 3 August, 2008

Althea McLaughlin began her 35-year career with the Cayman Islands Government as a pharmaceutical dispenser in 1951.

The first Caymanian to be trained as a hospital dispenser she mixed and dispensing medicines for the entire Cayman Islands.

At various times she served as dispenser, pharmacist, anaesthetist, storekeeper, receptionist and auxiliary nurse.

With the opening of the new hospital in 1953, Mrs. McLaughlin became Head Dispenser and single-handedly manned its dispensary until the mid-60s.

Over the years, Mrs. McLaughlin trained and mentored many who went on to become pharmacist and pharmacy technicians.

A charter member of the Cayman Islands Inner Wheel Club, she was the Secretary to the Agricultural Society for many years.

In 1978 Althea McLaughlin received an MBE in recognition of her services to the people of the Cayman Islands.

Virginia McCoy JP 16 August, 1938 – 14 September, 2008

Virginia McCoy was President of the Cayman Islands Christian Endeavour Union.

The former District Manager of North Side Post Office was a staunch and faithful member of the William Pouchie Memorial Church. Over the years she served in many capacities including those of Elder, Sunday school teacher, Council Elder and Worship leader.

A former Girls’ Brigade Captain for over 40 years, Virginia McCoy served as a member of that body’s National Council and was its Vice President at the time of her passing.

Her unstinting dedication to her Girls’ Brigade led to her representing her company and her country on many overseas conferences.

Tireless in her ministry and community work over the years, she was a founder member of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations.

Stephen Hall-Jones – 7 November, 1945 – 6 October, 2008

Barrister and newspaper columnist Stephen Hall-Jones (affectionately known to many as ‘The Major’) served as an officer with the British Royal Iniskilling Fusiliers in the 1960s (Berlin) and 1970s (Northern Ireland).

For six years he was Senior Crown Counsel (Civil) for the Government’s Legal Department. He served as Acting Solicitor-General for a time and for a brief period was acting Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands.

He was a long-serving and enthusiastic committee member of the Cayman Rugby Football Union.

Estella Scott-Roberts 8 October, 1975 – 10 October, 2008

Human rights advocate, Estella Scott-Roberts helped found the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre to shelter abused women and children. The first of its kind in Cayman; its existence and the work of Estella Scott-Roberts helped publicise issues connected with domestic abuse and elevate public debate and awareness of such matters.

Among her various community activities, the first Executive Director of the CICC was a member of the local Human Rights Committee.

Prior to her work as Corporate Communications Manager for Cable & Wireless, her civic-mindedness led Estella worked in various government posts including Officer for Women’s Affairs. She later co-ordinated of the Domestic Violence Intervention Training Programme, the National Committee Against Domestic Abuse; and the National Policy on Gender Equity and Equality.

A foundation bearing her name has been established to continue her humanitarian work.

Claudette Reed Upton-Keeley – 17 May, 1948 – 11 October, 2008

Claudette Reed Upton-Keeley was the Managing Editor and driving force behind the University College of the Cayman Islands’ academic journal JUCCI. As well as enjoying an illustrious career as a writer and editor in Canada; she edited several books and publications regarding the Cayman Islands and the West Indies. Among the local books she edited are Founded upon the Seas; So, You Want to Live on an Island; The Cayman Islands in Transition; and Stories My Grandfather Never Told Me.

In 2008, Claudette Upton was given the National Heritage Award: “In recognition for [her] extensive research and documentation of Caymanian Culture and for [her] literary contribution to the book Hearts and Sails, which records the tradition of the Caymanian Catboat.”

She served as president of the Canadian Editors’ Association for several years and was an honorary life member.

William Warren Conolly OBE, JP – 5 December, 1920 – 22 October, 2008

Instrumental in the development of the Cayman Islands, elder statesman and attorney, Warren Conolly entered politics in 1944 when he was elected to represent East End.

Throughout his political career, he served as vestryman, elected member and was one of the first people to serve on the Executive Council. He was also Cayman’s first minister of tourism.

Mr. Conolly helped found the Cayman Islands Law Society and was a founder member of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

He set up the law firm of Ritch & Conolly with his stepson David Ritch in 1983.

Mr. Conolly was awarded the Order of the British Empire (1975) for his significant contributions to the Islands.

Sir Vassel Johnson Kt, CBE, OBE, JP – 18 January, 1922– 12 November, 2008

The first and only Caymanian to date to have received a knighthood (1994), Sir Vassel is widely acknowledged as the architect of Cayman’s financial services industry. The country’s first Financial Secretary and Chairman of the Cayman Islands Currency Board (forerunner of the CI Monetary Authority), he helped formulate and introduce policies and legislation which paved the way for the financial services sector and CIMA.

Among his accomplishments during his time in Executive Council were the institution of the Marine Parks Regulations; the creation of the National Trust; the development of a building code; and the introduction of licensed local land surveyors.

Author of the historical book Founded upon the Seas, Sir Vassel was made an Officer of the British Empire (1971) and a Commander of the British Empire (1979)

William Rewalt – 22 July, 193517 November, 2008

Past Assistant Governor for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bill Rewalt is most recently remembered as an insurance broker and a leading Rotarian in Cayman. A keen sense of duty saw him serve on several boards including the Directors of the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company. The founder of the first Rotary Club in Providencial, Turks and Caicos, Bill was a former president, a founder member of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and an outstanding angler. He set up the Cayman Islands Angling Club and was instrumental in helping establish Cayman’s Million Dollar Fishing Month tournament.

Peter Wootton – 31 July, 1941 – 3 December, 2008

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts trained, Peter Wootton worked for three decades in the Cayman schools system developing fledgling library units and teaching drama and English. During his pedagogic career, he held posts at Cayman Islands High School (now John Gray High School), Cayman Islands Middle School (now George Hicks Middle School), George Town Primary School and Cayman Preparatory School.

His community work included the voice-over for the National Museum’s Wreck of the Ten Sails exhibition, voice coaching for Radio Cayman broadcasters and adjudicating at the National Children’s Festival of the Arts.

Following retirement, Peter Wootton worked for a time in the Legislative Assembly editing Hansard, the official published verbatim report of the proceedings of parliament.

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