When Charles Watler decided to memorialize his late wife, Jacqueline Ann Watler, he knew he wanted to capture her bright spirit and her love for the church community.
For a woman who was always working on one project or another, Mr. Watler thought solar panels would provide a fitting analogy.
“She was always doing something, giving. Solar is like that, always producing. That’s what I wanted to emphasize,” Mr. Watler said.
“She was always doing at least two things at one time. It was the same thing at church. She was involved in the women’s fellowship, teaching Sunday school. She was the Sunday school superintendent. We raised funds for the basketball court.”
In honor of her charitable spirit, Mr. Watler donated 62 solar panels to Savannah United Church’s hall and main building with the assistance of Precision Solar and fellow churchgoers.
He said the church’s installation was one of the last accepted under the Caribbean Utilities Company scheme that reimburses solar users for their excess energy production. He has requested that any funds produced by the panels be directed to the youth ministry, where Mrs. Watler dedicated much of her time.
The youth ministry was a passion of Mrs. Watler’s and a common source of her attention. When the family needed a new car, she suggested they buy a station wagon. The church did not have a bus and she wanted to have space to take children home to Spotts, Savannah and Newlands.
On another occasion, she started a Sunday school puppet show. The show was so successful that she helped another church, Elmslie Memorial United Church, set up a show for its Sunday school.
She frequently helped organize clothing and shoes for donation to the Mount Olivet Boys Home in Jamaica with her good friend, Beryl Arch.
The Watlers were married for 44 years before Mrs. Watler passed from cancer in 2014. They had five children and 10 grandchildren.
Mr. Watler said his wife’s dedication to their children shows through in their hard work and good education.
“Jacqueline was a very kind person, with a strong moral compass and high integrity, and who always loved helping the poor and the needy,” Mr. Watler said. “She wanted to make you feel special and she always tried to lift people up that fell. She wanted to do good for everybody. She served her Lord. She put him first.”
The couple moved from the U.S. to Grand Cayman, Mr. Watler’s home, in 1970.
Mr. Watler, dubbed the “father of the Immigration Board,” has also been recognized over the years for his public service career.
On the official Queen’s Birthday in June, Mr. Watler received the prestigious Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal.
He thanked Frank Hall Homes and several members of his church for contributing solar panel donations, including the King family, the Conolly family and the Paireaudeau family.