Charles Lindbergh Eden
Charles Lindbergh Eden died on 29 Jan. at the age of 91. A day before he passed away, he had been honoured during Cayman’s Heroes Day celebrations for his service as one of Cayman’s original vestrymen, having served from 1954 to 1959.
A farmer all his life, Eden continued to tend his crops into his 80s.
He said his parents named him after American aviator Charles Lindbergh, who completed the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in May 1927.
A lifelong bachelor, Eden was born in Savannah on 11 June, 1927, to Alexander and Sarah Leonie Eden.
He owned several businesses, including a meat market, the CleCoe Bottling Plant, the Savannah Tall Tree General Store and a heavy machinery company. He was one of the founders of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society.
A skilled carpenter, Eden built the old Savannah Post Office, and assisted with the refurbishing of Pedro St. James Castle. He was helped build the island’s first Agricultural Society building, near today’s cricket pitch, and the Stacy Watler Agriculture Pavilion in Lower Valley.
He was an avid golfer and ambassador for the Older Persons Month.
Garry John Wilkins
Former NCVO chairman Garry Wilkins died on 6 April at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer.
He was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, in 1943. As a young man, he dreamed of travel and adventure in the Caribbean and managed to combine both by joining Barclays Bank International in 1962. His first posting was in Jamaica.
In 1967, he was transferred to Barbados where he met Betty, his wife of 50 years. He also worked in US Virgin Islands, England and West Africa. He came to Cayman in 1988 and worked for companies Deloitte & Touche and Cayman National Corporation.
He served on a number of local advisory bodies such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Directors Association.
He also served as chairman of the National Council of Voluntary Organisation and was a passionate member of the Rotary Club.
Marvelle Norine McLaughlin
Cayman lost one of its best cooks this year, when East End’s Marvelle McLaughlin passed away on 26 April.
Her famed custard top cornbread was enjoyed by so many that the recipe for it was printed on the back of her memorial booklet at her funeral service.
The renowned cook had received an Early Pioneers Award at Heroes Day in 2014 for her contributions to cultural heritage.
She is survived by her son William ‘Billy’ McLaughlin, grandchildren Bryce, Bryna and Summer McLaughlin, and siblings Evangeline Evans, Rushbrooke McLaughlin and Evelyn McLaughlin. Friends, family and fans regarded her as an East End legend.
Prominent Caymanian businessman Jim Wood died on 19 May at the age of 89.
Born in Bodden Town on 13 April, 1930, Wood worked as a merchant seaman from 1951 to 1961.
After returning from sea, he set up Wood’s Furniture. His son Robert said Wood did not initially plan on getting into the furniture business, but on a trip home from sea, he brought living room furniture with him and sold it to a shipmate and that was how the successful furniture business was born.
Wood also helped his family run Cayman’s first skating rink, as well as a bar in Bodden Town called The Club. Another Wood bar that was known as Ace Club would later have its name changed to the Zodiac Club, and now the establishment is called The Globe.
He was also an active member of the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association.
A Grand Court judge and an integral member of Cayman’s law community for more than 30 years, Justice Charles Quin died at his home on 7 June. He was 68.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Quin came to Cayman as an attorney in 1985 and practiced with Bruce Campbell and Company before serving as senior partner for Quin and Hampson from 1992 to 2007.
He became an acting magistrate of the Summary Court in 1993, before being named as a judge of the Grand Court May 2008.
He was also president of the Cayman Islands Law Society.
He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004 and served as Cayman’s representative of the Royal Commonwealth Society for a decade.
Those who knew her best remember Gretchen Allen as a woman overflowing with poetry, stories and musings about life.
A resident of Cayman for more than 35 years, Allen died on 10 June, at the age of 74 at the Cayman Islands Hospital.
Through a life of travel and adventure, she held the roles of newspaper journalist, broadcaster, photographer, actress, artist, equestrian, scuba diver and race car driver.
An orphan before her adoption by an affluent family in Chicago, Allen grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and went on to pursue journalism and writing. Allen served as social secretary to Alan Scott, who was governor of the Cayman Islands from 1987 to 1992, and his wife Joan Hall Scott.
One of the biggest promoters of Cayman Islands diving and tourism, Ron Kipp died at age 79 on 22 July, after a long illness.
As the owner of Bob Soto’s Diving for two decades, he not only marketed diving, but helped to organise and standardise the industry by creating a local scuba diving association and, eventually, helping to establish the Cayman Island Tourism Association.
He was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2012, and was also one of the honourees at 2017’s Heroes Day.
A graduate of the University of Tulsa and a US Air Force veteran, Kipp spent the first part of his career on the business side of IBM.
When the movie ‘The Firm’ was shot in Cayman in the early 1990s, Kipp was an advisor on the diving scenes and was Gene Hackman’s double in the movie.
Athelstan Charles Long
Athelstan Charles Long, Cayman’s first governor, passed away on 1 Aug. at the Pines Retirement Home where he was a resident for several years.
He was 100 years old. Long came to the Cayman Islands in 1968 as the islands’ Administrator, the title given to the Queen’s representative before the designation governor existed here. He was sworn in as governor on 3 Nov. 1971.
Born in 1919, in Worplesdon, Surrey, England, Long attended Westminster School of Brasenose College in Oxford, graduating in 1937.
He spent three years as a prisoner of war in World War II and was forced to work on the Burmese railway. After the war, he entered the colonial service, with an initial posting in Asia before spending nine years each in Nigeria and Swaziland. He then came to Cayman.
After a short period as governor, Long left Cayman but returned later and served as president of United Bank International for 30 years. He also served as chairman of International Management Group and deputy chairman of the Public Service Pensions Board, and was an active member of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association.
A state funeral was held for Long on 14 Aug.
An educational psychologist with the Ministry of Education, Monty Larrew, of Eads, Colorado, died on 9 Aug. following a brief illness. He was 40.
According to friends, Larrew underwent an appendectomy in Colorado and fell ill after returning to Cayman. He died while plans were under way to airlift him to Florida for treatment.
He loved to travel, was an avid Denver Nuggets fan and a good cook.
He spent four years on Cayman Brac introducing an early-intervention literacy program that was eventually adopted in all Cayman primary schools. After moving to Grand Cayman in 2014, he maintained links with the Brac community and always queried how his former students were doing.
Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Brown
Former police officer Manny Brown died in a boating accident in the North Sound on 11 Aug. He was 49.
He spent 22 years as an officer with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, working with the drug task force and the marine unit, before retiring in 2018. Along with a partner, he owned the play structure at Starfish Point.
He was also closely tied to the Cayman football community as a former player, as well as a referee.
Friends, family and former colleagues remembered him for his friendly demeanour, humour and professionalism.
John Bonwell McLean Sr.
Former politician John McLean Sr. passed away on 24 Aug. at the age of 69.
A powerful figure in Cayman’s politics in the 1970s, McLean unseated Warren Conolly for the district seat in East End in 1976 and went on to represent the East End constituency for the next 24 years. Twelve of those years were spent on the ministerial level.
Educated at East End Primary and the Cayman Islands High School, McLean’s first job was as a filing clerk at the Royal Bank of Canada. He went on to establish an investment and management consulting firm in 1981.
McLean was also a proud farmer and won many Agriculture Show awards over the years.
Several hundred people attended his state funeral on 10 Sept.
Zita Foster Kirkconnell
Zita Foster Kirkconnell of Stake Bay, Cayman Brac, died on 18 Sept. The much-loved Cayman Bracker was 92.
She was the mother of Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell. In a statement on her passing, the Premier’s Office said, “We will certainly miss Ms. Zita’s love of life and the warmth and enthusiasm she imparted to all who met her.”
She is survived by her children Moses Kirkconnell and Nancy Ewing; daughter-in-law Kathy; son-in-law Dr. Aubrey Ewing; granddaughter Alyssa Thomas; and grandson-in-law Waite Thomas.
Alden McNee McLaughlin Sr.
Alden McNee McLauglin Sr., the father of Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, died on 11 Nov. after a long illness. He was 93.
Throughout his life, he served in a number of roles. He was Cayman’s first formally trained public health officer. He taught in a school on Cayman Brac, then taught in West Bay, before going to sea for 10 years.
He returned to Cayman in 1955 and married his wife Althea, who passed away in 2008.
He worked as a hired driver and then as a plumber before winning a scholarship to the West Indies School of Public Health in Jamaica, where he completed a three-year course in a single year.
He was a stalwart of the PPM/Progressives family, the party his son would go on to lead.
Carol Ann Winker
Veteran reporter Carol Winker’s dedication to Cayman’s community and to upholding a free press left a lasting mark on the Cayman Islands. She died on 25 Nov., at the age of 79, after a battle with cancer.
Although renowned for her reporting of Cayman’s courts during her 34 years at the Cayman Compass, Winker covered every type of story – from hurricanes, to nature, to politics and beyond.
She was well known for riding her bicycle between the newsroom and Cayman’s courthouse where she was a respected fixture.
Her reports on court cases were so reliable they came to be cited in court under the affectionate moniker the ‘Winker Law Reports’.
Before becoming a journalist, she was a schoolteacher, and moved to the Cayman Islands in the mid-70s to work as a peripatetic reading teacher.
She also served as an election monitor in Cayman.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Winker graduated from Messmer High School in 1958, and then earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Mary College in 1962.