Flawed, but was a great dad - Carlton Thomas remembered as fun-loving, caring man
While his many flaws were not glossed over, former top-notch Air Jamaica flight mechanic Carlton Astley Thomas was eulogised as a loving and caring father, who always found time to ensure the well-being of his two sons.
In delivering the eulogy at Sunday's funeral service at the Chatham Seventh-day Adventist Church in St James, The Gleaner's Western Bureau reporter Christopher Thomas described his father as a complex man, who somehow mastered the art of being stubborn and uncompromising with being a caring man, who tried his best to be a good father.
"Dad was a down-to-earth man. He would never leave you in doubt about exactly what he thought of any given situation, and he was never afraid of expressing his opinions, regardless of what anyone else thought or whether they agreed with him or not," said Christopher, whose older brother, Carlos, expressed similar sentiments in his remembrance.
In reminiscing on the softer side of his father, Christopher recalled many memorable family outings with his father, whose fun-loving ways included his passion for sports, especially cricket and football. His father also had a love for music, being a one-time owner of a small sound system.
"I can remember many Sundays when he would take us to Ocho Rios, where Grandma had her businessplace at the time, and we would go to the beach and eat freshly caught fish and romp about in the water, especially since Dad was always fond of swimming," recalled Christopher.
While his wild ways, including his chain-smoking habit, clearly created tension in his family, to possibly include the separation from his wife Leonie Maulseed, who was present at the funeral service to comfort her two sons, the elder Thomas continued to embrace the good times, even after he was diagnosed with cancer almost a decade ago.
lover of food
Beside his penchant for drinking and smoking, Thomas, who was born in St Thomas on October 23, 1949, was also a lover of food.
"Dad loved his pork ... whether roast pork, stewed pork, or corned pork, whether it was ham or bacon, he was not a man to pass it up," said Christopher. "He would drink Pepsi the way a normal person drinks water; it even used to be a joke that, if you cut him, you would see Pepsi instead of blood."
Thomas' former colleagues at Air Jamaica, where he served for 30 years after starting his working life at places such as the Public Works Department, Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Barclay Bank, Martin's Tours Limited, Wings Jamaica Limited, and Trans Jamaica, described him as a dedicated and efficient employee, who was the ultimate team player.
In his sermon, Pastor Trevor Reid said that during Thomas' final days, he visited him in the hospital and ministered with him. He said that he hoped that when he told Christopher days before his death that "I have made peace with my God", Thomas was indicating that he had put his fate in God's hands.
Following the ceremony, Thomas' ashes were interred at the Content Cemetery, also in St James.