William Astor, affectionately called Astor, was born on 4 January, 1930, in Channel Cliff North Side. He was the fifth child and first son of Melville Averston and Amy Anola Ebanks (nee McLaughlin).
Astor had a very rich heritage as he was born into a loving Christian family where he was taught the values of good manners, hard work, honesty, and integrity. His precious mother, a godly woman made sure that he and his siblings learned about God from their youth. These teachings served him and his siblings well and prepared them for their journey into adult life. His life was truly a testament of Proverbs 22.6 “train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Astor attended school in North Side and, in those days, educational opportunities beyond basic school were literally nonexistent. Upon completing school, and with no prospect of employment in North Side, he left the comfort of his family and friends on 14 January, 1944, at the tender age of 14 years, 10 months and moved to George Town to take up employment with H.O. Merren & Company, where he worked for many years, even while at home in between his seafaring years.
Astor was not one to eat idle bread and, being the eldest son, felt duty bound to find ways of making more money to help his parents and sibling back in North Side. In 1949, he was successful in obtaining work with the government and joined the Cayman Islands Police Force. However, shortly thereafter he received his “call” and began his seafaring life.
This opportunity afforded him the privilege of travelling around the world and visiting places that he could only dream of doing otherwise.
During his tenure as a policeman, his eyes caught the attention of a gorgeous young woman from George Town name Linda Jackson. Although only 19 years old, it was love at first sight and before long he was so smitten that he eventually approached Mr. Jackson to seek his approval for her hand in marriage, despite having been warned and having to write twice for permission. They were united in holy matrimony on 23 September, 1953, and enjoyed 58 wonderful years together. They made their home on Crewe Road in George Town and remained there until his passing. They were blessed with five wonderful children, William Christine, Virgil, Seneca and Darrell.
Astor was a hardworking man who always provided for his family. After the birth of his children, Astor realised he was missing out on the milestones of his young family and decided to give up his life as a seaman to spend more time with them. In order to provide for them he had several jobs over the years, including working with H.O. Merren, Kirkconnell Brothers and in later years with his daughter, Seneca.
Astor was well known throughout the Cayman Islands and overseas for his culinary expertise in baking of brads, rolls and especially fruit cakes at Christmas time with his devoted wife “Linda darling”. He enjoyed taking drives to East End and North Side visiting his family and friends with his “Linda darling.” They would take special drives just to feed the wildlife on Bell Air Drive in South Sound. They also enjoyed travelling to Cayman Brac and would seize any and every opportunity to do so. He looked forward to visiting the market at the grounds on Saturday mornings and would visit faithfully whenever he was able to, as it gave him a chance to meet with his many friends and family from all over the island.
Astor was a member of the Seafarer’s Association where he served as president twice. He enjoyed the meetings as it gave him the opportunity to reminisce with his seafaring buddies.
Astor was baptised by his brother Robert, he loved the Lord and was a devout Christian who served his Lord for many years. He was a faithful member of the Church of God Holiness, Red Bay up until his passing.
Astor loved his family and looked forward with eager anticipation to all family gatherings and especially the Melvillite Family Reunions and birthday celebrations. The latest gathering took place just last month on 7 January, in celebration of his 82nd birthday.
Sadly, Astor was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 7 December, 2010, at Cleveland Clinic in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He faced his illness head-on with patience and bravery, putting his full trust in the Lord at all times. Although the doctors gave him a limited outlook for the future, he surpassed all expectations with the Lord’s help even foregoing intense medical treatment (i.e chemo). His family was by his side to encourage and support him until the end.
William Astor Ebanks is preceded in death by his parents: Melville and Amy Ebanks and his sister Stella “Nell” Smith. Left to mourn his passing are his loving and devoted wife Linda; five children, William Christine, Virgil, Seneca and Darrel; daughters-in-law Lana, Mona and Rosie; sons-in-law: Charley; brothers: Harold, Robert and Benjamin; sisters: Iola, Kathleen, Orma and Emmie Mae; nine grand children: Bernadette, Cathrine, Joni, Tremayne, Alexander, Andrew, Adrian, Arie and Kody; one great-grand daughter: Lani; one grand-son-in-law: Reagan Ebanks; Brothers-in-law: Leroy Walton, Adalbert Jackson and Paul Hurlstone; sisters-in-law: Cleta, Adelaide and Angelia Hurlstone; his at home caregiver: Carol; his church bretheren and a host of other relatives and special friends, too numerous to mention, both locally and overseas.
Astor lived fully, loved God and his family dearly, and passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, 3 February, 2012.