Lindbergh Eden, one of the last vestrymen, dies

Charles Lindbergh Eden

Charles Lindbergh Eden, one of two remaining original vestrymen of the Cayman Islands, has died. He was 91.

Services were held Saturday at Savannah United Church, of which Mr. Eden was a member.

Premier Alden McLaughlin was scheduled to speak at the event.

Mr. Eden was honored last Monday, Jan. 28, during the nation’s Heroes Day celebration for his service as a vestryman from 1954 to 1959.

Heather Dianne Bodden accepted the award in his honor, as Mr. Eden was in Cayman Islands Hospital at the time. She presented it to him later that same day and said he was “overwhelmed with excitement” at receiving the award. He died the following day.

Ms. Bodden said she was a distant cousin of Mr. Eden, but her father was in business with him and she grew up calling Mr. Eden, Uncle Lindbergh. She said she helped him in his later years and always appreciated his friendliness.

“You could hear him from the time you drove up,” she said. “He’d say, ‘Good morning!’ or ‘Hello, hello, hello.’ He always greeted you like you were special, patting you on the shoulder and welcoming you into the house.”

A farmer all his life, Ms. Bodden said Mr. Eden continued to tend his crops into his 80s.

“He loved to talk about his land,” and was most proud of his breadfruit and mangoes,” she said.

He also liked to talk about world events.

“He was an avid listener of the news, everything worldwide,” she said. “He took pleasure in telling you what he’d seen.”

One major world event, in fact, gave Mr. Eden his name.

In a previous interview with the Cayman Compass, Mr. Eden explained that he had been named after American aviator and military officer Charles Lindbergh, who completed the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France, on May 20, 1927.

The 33 1⁄2-hour journey aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, a single-seat, single-engine monoplane, inspired his father, Alexander Selwyn Eden, an aviation enthusiast, to name his son after the famed pilot.

A lifelong bachelor, Mr. Eden was born in Savannah on June 11, 1927 to Alexander and Sarah Leonie Eden. Unlike most young men at that time, he did not go to sea, but stayed in Cayman and became a farmer. He also owned several businesses, including a meat market, the CleCoe Bottling Plant and the Savannah Tall Tree General Store. He operated this last business with his brother Crosby. The two men, along with Jay Bodden, also had a heavy equipment business.

Mr. Eden may be best known for helping to found the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society. In a recent magazine article, he recalled being part of a 10-person delegation that visited Jamaica in the mid-1960s to experience that island’s agricultural expo. Soon after, members of the group formed the local Agricultural Society.

A skilled carpenter, Mr. Eden built the old Savannah post office and was one of the contractors who refurbished Pedro St. James Castle in the 1960s.

He was also very instrumental in building the island’s first Agricultural Society building, which was near today’s cricket pitch, and the present Stacy Watler Agriculture Pavilion in Lower Valley.

A baseball enthusiast and youth coach, Mr. Eden was also an avid golfer. And in October 2017, he was selected as an ambassador for the Older Persons Month.

During this year’s Heroes Day ceremony, Captain Owen Murphy Farrington, now the jurisdiction’s only surviving vestryman, encouraged attendees to keep Mr. Eden, who played an important role in the development of the modern Cayman Islands, in their thoughts.

“First of all, I want to ask you to remember in your prayers my colleague Mr. Eden, who’s in the hospital since Christmas,” Mr. Farrington said that day, adding, “From when the justices of the peace and vestrymen agreed on what the coat of arms should look like until today, spans 60 years.

“That 60-year journey was not without challenges, but through the grace of God, we arrived to where we are today.”

Mr. Eden is survived by sister Ruby West, sister-in-law Kathleen Eden and several nieces and nephews.

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