The men and women we lost in 2009

James Frank Banks –

7 November 1956 – 19 March

A former partner at Walkers, Frank Banks spent his legal career at the law firm.

Before retiring in 2006, he focused on commercial law, gaining experience across a variety of sectors. He eventually headed up the firm’s local real estate practice, becoming a partner in 1997.

Frank was involved with civic work and community life in Cayman, most notably with the Permanent Residency and Caymanian Status Board, which he continued with into his retirement, and as a triathlete and long distance runner.

Frank Banks succumbed to brain cancer after 13 months fighting the disease.

Shirley Dinspel – 30 March 1935 – 25 March

During her 30 years with the Cayman Islands Health Services, Shirley Dinspel exemplified the highly skilled and compassionate nature of a vocational nurse for the many colleagues and patients whose lives she positively impacted.

She began her career locally as a registered nurse in the general ward and was later appointed as head nurse in charge of the Emergency Room at the hospital. She was instrumental in setting up the general practice clinic and was involved in the training and the teaching of many of the islands nurses in the area of practical nursing.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 she undertook helicopter flights to give care to patients in inaccessible parts of the Islands.

She was a community nurse from 2000 covering Bodden Town, East End and North Side and particularly enjoyed working closely with the seniors of the eastern districts.

Gregory Edison Thompson – 6 November 1969 – 28 March

During his career with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Gregory Thompson moved swiftly up the ranks. As detective sergeant, in charge of the Drug Intelligence Unit, he worked undercover locally and internationally earning the nickname Spook. He later became inspector of the George Town Police Station and chief inspector responsible for policing in George Town.

As a detective inspector Mr. Thompson worked in the Financial Crimes Unit, investigating fraud and assisting in the presentation of complex criminal matters before the courts.

He represented the commissioner at national hurricane committee meetings and various boards and was called on to give advice and draft policy documents for the commissioner.

As superintendent in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, he was responsible for island-wide policing.

He later enrolled at the Cayman Islands Law School and joined Stuarts Walker Hersant in 2007.

As a lawyer, he specialised in corporate, commercial and fund matters.

Egerton Wellington Jr. – 19 December 1919 – 30 March

Better known as Welly of Welly’s Cool Spot, Egerton Wellington was the owner of one of Grand Cayman’s first and most popular West Indian eateries.

As a carpenter, he moved to Grand Cayman from Jamaican in 1952.He worked in a small block factory until his passion for cooking led him into the restaurant trade, which he started in his home on North Sound Way.

A member of the local Lions fraternity, he was one of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman’s earliest members.

For his accomplishments and for making Welly’s a top tourist spot, he was given a Tourism Ambassador award in 1994.

Paul Aiken Sr. – 1 July 1938 – 10 May

Born in St. Andrews, Jamaica, Paul Aiken moved to Grand Cayman in 1956.

He worked for numerous establishments during his 34-year bartending career namely at La Fontaine, Ports of Call, Galleon Beach, the Holiday Inn, Tortuga Club, Royal Palms and finally the Grand Old House restaurant.

His naturally outgoing nature made him popular with guests. An accomplished bartender, Paul was awarded the Cayman Islands Tourism Service Person of the Year 2001 and received the Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards Long Service/Special Contribution – Grand Old House award in 2006.

Known during his time at La Fontaine in the 70s, he concocted and popularised for his signature drink ‘the fluffy’. His last job was bartending at the Grand Old House, where he worked for nearly three decades.

Marjorie Beckles 9 October 1950 – 18 June

Marjorie Patrecia Beckles worked in the local education system for decades as a classroom teacher, principal, pre-school supervisor and senior early childhood education officer.

In 1979 she left for England to pursue further professional studies at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. While there she worked with Leslie Webb, a leading authority on early childhood education in England and Wales.

Mrs. Beckles taught in various local primary schools namely East End Primary, Bodden Town and George Town where she spent a decade as a teacher and head of the infant department.

Her work in the field of early childhood education in the Islands is well documented.

She also acted as an adviser to the National Council of Social Services Pre-School Committee.

Sidney Gomez – 11 August 1918 – 8 July

Born in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Mr. Sid, as he was affectionately called, emigrated to Cayman in 1948 on the Star. Soon after arriving he met his future wife, Daphne Bodden, with whom he was married to for 60 years.

His extensive knowledge of the lumber trade led him to establish the first lumberyard in Grand Cayman. He also sailed with National Bulk Carriers for many years, returning to the Island in 1963 to work at Crewe Road Tile and Building Material Co. He would remain with Rex Crighton for the balance of his working life, which spanned 43 years.

In 1972 sister company Crighton Properties was formed and Mr. Sid moved into the real estate business until he retired in 2007

He was a member of the Seafarer’s Association.

Harold A. ‘Jay’ Bodden 28 April 1931 – 26 August

Jay Bodden helped Grand Cayman make the transition to a modern transportation system.

His first business venture with his brother Hubert was Bodden and Bodden Development Company Limited, dealing in heavy equipment in the mid 1960s. Four years later the brothers set up Caribbean Stone Products Limited.

Their next major venture was to establish Island Paving Limited, Cayman’s oldest paving company.

Mr. Bodden’s community involvement is exemplified by the donation of a large piece of land now known as the Savannah/Newlands Play Field, the site of many district events; the beautification of Bodden Town and in the small acts of kindness he undertook for the district’s elderly. He was officially presented with the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew in April of 2000.

He was awarded the Honorary Member Certificate by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central.

Frederick Speirs – 29 July 1948 – 7 September

One of the founding members and past president of the Rotary Central Club, Fred Speirs epitomised the club’s motto, Service Above Self. A club member for over three decades, he was a Paul Harris Fellow and contributed generously to the club both financially and with his time.

A committed educator and mentor; he was an amateur football referee and referee instructor who was responsible for the training and development of many local referees in the past 20 years.

As a member of the National Theatre Company, he was named Stage Manager of the Year in 1983-1984.

Mr. Speirs was also involved in the yearly publication of the National Children Festival of the Arts book of poems and essays and helped initiate the inter schools debating competition.

Jack Rose – 18 January 1917 – 10 October

Decorated World War II veteran, Wing Commander Jack Rose took on various colonial service postings in Africa before becoming the in the first administrator of the Cayman Islands from 1960 to 1963.

During his tenure the draft company law was commissioned, which was passed in the island’s legislature, and became law in December 1961. It provided, among other things, for “exempt companies” and led to the tax haven status of the Islands and a huge growth in their economy.

In 1963 Mr. Rose was appointed deputy governor of British Guiana. He retired in 1979 and immersed himself in voluntary work in England.

He was appointed an MBE in 1954 and a CMG in 1963.

Ramona Bush – 11 September 1929 – 11 October

Ramona Bush, known to all as Miss Mona, worked in the hospitality industry in the early days of the Islands tourism industry as a waitress.

She worked first at the Bamboo Club on South Sound Road, then the Seaview Hotel, before finishing her working career at the Lobster Pot where she worked for a decade behind the bar serving and mixing drinks. Her rum punches were legendary.

Meeting people from all works of life and from many countries, she was one of Cayman’s early unofficial tourism ambassadors.

Zelda Valerie Anderson – 20 June 1935 – 15 November

Valerie Anderson was Cayman’s first ever policewoman. In 1958 the Bodden Town constable was one of only 15 officers in Grand Cayman. She spent four years in the service.

She immigrated to New York and attended the Data Processing Institute and was trained to use IBM computers.

On her return to the Caribbean, she moved to Jamaica and became a driving instructor, opening her school with Daphne Bariff.

After 18 years, she returned to Cayman and rejoined the police service. Toward the end of her career she singlehandedly caught an escaped prisoner hiding under a floor in George Town. She was carrying only a flashlight and hand cuffs at the time.

Ms Anderson retired from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in October 1980.

She was involved with the Bodden Town Pirates Week Committee and was its chairperson until 2008.

William Rattray – 20 April 1952 – 12 December

Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the Cayman Islands from 2006, Bill Rattray had a 30-year career in the British civil service, which included managing Aberdeen’s Craiginches and Peterhead prisons in the UK.

He was head of the Scottish Prison Service College in Falkirk directly before taking the commissioner of corrections and rehabilitations post locally.

As the first-ever prisons’ commissioner in Cayman, he was appointed to manage and develop new strategies for the country’s three prisons. Bill Rattray transformed the Islands’ three jails, which house 230 prisoners.

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