50 years ago: Stella Polaris staff and officers visit George Town

In the March 1, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, George Town correspondent Frances Bodden wrote:

“Mr. and Mrs. Berkeley Bush enjoyed their visit to Florida with their children including their youngest son Allen who is in the U.S. Navy.

“Mr. and Mrs. A. Colin Panton spent a week in Miami with Mrs. Panton looking as chic as always.”

Other news in the same issue included:

“A pleasant afternoon function was held at Government House on the 22nd when three of the officers and the cruise director from the tourist ship Stella Polaris met with a few folk from the island who are concerned with the tourist trade.

“Unfortunately Capt. Nilsson, who has been on the ship for 12 years, and his first officer who joined the crew as a boy and now, after 30 years, has reached the top, were unable to come ashore due to the position of the wind and its likely change.

“Chief engineer, Sten Bladh, and chief purser, Ingvar Torstenson, both natives of Sweden, and cruise director Joe de Barbary from New York were all good company. They told our reporter that approximately 139 passengers were aboard for each cruise and Grand Cayman was one of the most popular ports of call.

“The cruise director, who is responsible for the provision of entertainment for the passengers for the periods at sea, is a talented violinist and charms the tourists with his Gypsy music.

“At the conclusion of the brief call, His Honour [the Administrator] presented the chief engineer with a plaque of the Coat of Arms of the islands, a C.I. red ensign for the ship to fly when here and a copy of the new report on the Cayman Islands for the years 1961-65 recently published.

“It struck our reporter that the officers and the passengers would welcome a longer stay here and maybe the Tourist Board could make representations with this view for the next season.”

Also in George Town news on March 1:

“The funeral of Mr. George Ballantine Chollette, whose body was brought home from Halifax, Canada, on Wednesday evening, was held in the Elmslie Memorial Church, George Town on the 23rd.

“The service was conducted by Rev. John Lord, assisted by Pastor F.E. Arch …. for the able bodied seaman of George Town, who died suddenly on board his ship the S.S. Imperial St. Lawrence on the 13th of this month.

“Mr. E.O. Panton gave the obituary as follows … ‘The beautiful floral tributes and the large number of friends and relatives present give evidence of the esteem in which the deceased and has family were held.

“‘Ballie’ as he was familiarly known by his family and friends was born on the Dec. 24 1923, just 43 years ago. He was the son of Miss Aretta Chollette and Mr. Wm. H. Prendergrast of New York. He married Lindora Andrews and by their marriage they had one son, George, who is a promising lad and we hope will grow up to be a strong arm on which his mother can lean …

“‘Ballie’ was of a quiet, unassuming disposition. He loved his family and we believe he is at rest.’

“As a mark of respect, all the seamen present lined up as the casket passed out of the church. The mortal remains were laid to rest in George Town cemetery.”

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