Life & Times : Wilberforce Knibb turns 100
Family members and friends turned out in large numbers to celebrate the 100th birthday of Wilberforce Nathaniel Knibb, a high spirited and kindhearted gentleman, who is hailed by many as the godfather of Francis Avenue in Buff Bay, Portland.
The centenarian, who achieved that historical milestone on June 19, was the recipient of a grand party put on by his son Fitz and other family members to celebrate the special occasion, which earned him the distinction of being the longest liver in that family and the oldest in the town of Buff Bay.
“I have come a long way, “commented the centenarian. “It’s nice to have family and friends celebrating this special occasion with me. Along the way, I have lost many good friends and family members, but thanks to God I am still carrying on."
He said he is a member of the Buff Bay Baptist Church, but is unable to attend church now, due to old age.
"I have lived a good life and I have no regrets. Today is very special and although I am a little bit weak in the legs, I am still pressing on,” he added.
Knibb, who pointed out that he grew up in a Christian home, recounted that he was a foreman employed to the Jamaica Railway Corporation from 1948 to 1972, where his group was engaged in fixing railway tracks for trains to travel the lengthy journey from Port Antonio to Kingston and St Catherine.
Born on June 19, 1917, Knibb is the youngest of six siblings and has managed to outlive them, losing the last brother nearly four years ago at the age of 99.
A past student of Buff Bay Primary, Knibb also shared what he described as an awesome relationship with his son, Fitz.
“My father is one of the kindest persons I have ever known, “commented Fitz.
He continued “The name godfather has certain connotations attached, as he provided community residents with financial assistance regularly. Even now he is still reaching out to them. He is well loved and is cheerful and jovial as ever. But he is also a disciplinarian, and his guidance and discipline have helped to shape and mould me along life’s path. This is a special occasion for us all.”
A large birthday cake bearing the inscription ‘Happy 100th birthday Wilby’ was affixed to the pastry.
The gathering were also engaged in singing happy birthday to the centenarian, after which mannish water, chicken, curried goat, and rice and peas was served.