Cayman’s oldest man celebrates 104th birthday

Looking as spry as ever, shoemaker Wellesley Howell, born Jan. 7, 1915, celebrated his 104th birthday at his Shedden Road shop on Monday.

He said he is looking forward to celebrating his birthday, and playing a few games of dominoes, with family and friends on Saturday at the South Sound Community Centre.

On Monday, he had several wishes for his birthday, including finding a wife.

“I know it’s something I would take a chance with but shouldn’t ask for, [and] that is a wife,” Mr. Howell said with a huge grin.

“A wife … I have more wishes, but they not attached to my brain as yet,” he added with a laugh.

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Mr. Howell said the last year had gone by quickly.

“It’s just recently I had the [103rd] birthday performance at the George Town Town Hall, and look how soon it peak again,” he chuckled. “I won’t pick the music for the party because I am a musician [but] they can certainly ‘flash’ me around with the music.”

He said joyful moments from God and knowing God’s purpose for his life made him happy. He added that just knowing that he is 104 years old frightens him, but he leaves that up to God.

Wellesley Howell holds up a party invitation to his 104th birthday celebrations. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

“To live, I cannot use my knowledge towards it; that’s left to the Master above,” he said.

When it came to the things in life he cherishes, Mr. Howell said, “That is a funny one. The three things I have been very attached to is my music, my performance and playing dominoes.”

He said the three people he admires most are his daughter, his son and his caregiver.

Mr. Howell says that while he acknowledges that he is the oldest man in the country, it can be hard thinking about getting old.

But the easiest part about growing old, he said, was smiling – something he seems to do regularly.

To prepare for old age, Mr. Howell advises, “Do right in life,” and when it comes to dealing with the future, “just laugh.”

Wellesley Howell enjoys a birthday game of dominoes at his shoe repair store in George Town on Monday, when he turned 104 years of age. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

He said if he should live another 10 years, he would keep smiling the same way and looking forward to good days with family, friends and others.

“Always be nice to others is one of the wishes for when I was younger,” he said.

Mr. Howell was born in Jamaica but for more than 60 years, since moving to Cayman, he has shared his love of music, crafts and shoe-making talents with Cayman residents.

These days, Mr. Howell enjoys the company of others. He is lucid and full of life, and he loves a good laugh with anyone who visits his shop.

Congratulating him on his birthday milestone, visiting friend Roger Myles said, “May you live to see many more.”

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