The late Dr Oscar Wendell Jordan was today compared to former boxing great Muhammad Ali, who died just hours before the noted Barbadian physician on June 4.
Tears flowed freely as members of the medical fraternity, family friends and loved ones gathered at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens to bid farewell to one of Barbados’ leading advocates in the fight against diabetes.
In a moving tribute, his daughter Alex described her late father as ‘the greatest”, while pointing out the irony of the timing of his death in relation to Ali’s.
“When you died a few hours after Muhammad Ali, we instantly recognized the irony. You always called him the greatest, but dad, for us you were the greatest,” Alex said.
The former disc jockey at Slam FM, now a broadcaster with Sportsmax in Jamaica, spoke of the grief and trauma Dr Jordan’s death brought to the family and, speaking directly to him as though he could hear her, said he would have known how to handle it.
Alex said her father was “a confidence builder”, “a principle builder” and an exemplary husband and father.
“Dad, you cannot imagine the outpouring of grief and gratitude that we are accepting on your behalf,” she said.
The late doctor was also a strong disciplinarian and inspiration to his children, according to his son Julian, who told the packed church his father found creative, compassionate and gentle ways to discipline his children.
And, like his sister, he spoke as if Dr Jordan could hear him.
“You were not a disciplinarian in the traditional Barbadian sense of the word and when our behaviour went astray. We understood what it meant when you lowered your voice. Low volume was not good and it meant to cease and desist. When you lowered your voice at home it meant instant and full attention,” he said.
“When Claire complained about A level workloads you reminded her that you did the same thing except by lamp light in the Glebe in St John because electricity was to expensive, so she got the perspective. Or when you dropped her off to do her 11-plus exam at the top of St Leonard’s and said, ‘Hit it down the middle’ and sped off. Claire marched down the gap did her best and the rest is history. We still cannot figure out how you and mommy wove together such a family environment of love and empowerment for us.”
In tears, Julian recalled playing golf alongside his dad and the satisfaction and fulfilment it brought both father and son.
“I can remember specific shots at specific events, which produced shouts of delight and laughter from you . . . Any son who has ever made his father proud, even for a brief moment, understand that fulfillment,” he said, while being consoled by Alex, his other sister Claire and family friend Andrew Pilgrim.
In his message, Reverend Guy Hewitt encouraged the mourners to be like Dr Jordan and “don’t count the days, make the days count”.
Heading the lists of dignitaries attending the funeral service and burial were Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick and other members of parliament.