Colleagues and friends remember Francois St Juste
A consummate professional, a stalwart in the media fraternity and a household name, Francois St Juste captivated the airwaves and attention of locals for more than a decade, with persons drawn to his deep baritone voice.
For most, they will miss his signature "Gooooooood morrrninngggggg Jamaica" wake-up call, that provided a well-needed boost of positivity to start the day.
Tributes flowed online as Jamaicans reminisced on the radio personality, who passed away early yesterday, not only in his capacity as the co-host of Radio Jamaica 94 programme Sunny Side Up, but as a mentor, leader and friend.
Noted disc jock ZJ Sparks reflected on the moments she shared with St Juste 20 years ago when she was employed with the FAME FM team. It was one of the few stints St Juste dominated, having started working at the radio station as a summer intern before quickly climbing the ranks to programmes manager.
"I remember walking home when I got the call from you. That day changed the course of my life forever. You were a great mentor. You encouraged me. You believed in me. You were a column," ZJ Sparks posted online.
"I feel like a big lump inna mi chest and throat. Even though we don't work at the same station. Yuh woulda neva walk pass and gwan like yuh nuh see mi. Still ah hug and smile. I am happy I gave you your flowers while you were alive," she added.
Similarly, fellow broadcaster Simone Clarke-Cooper posted a tear-jerking video on Twitter, one that captured St Juste commending her growth at the season one finale of her show Sim Soul Sessions.
"Sim, I am here to celebrate with you and to congratulate you on all you have done. Yes, we remember those early days, if I am to let out secrets, that is 23 years ago and you came in as a very shy, unassuming person. You already had the talent, we knew that, we heard your voice and felt your soul," St Juste said.
In her response to the praises that were heaped on her by her 'boss', a tearful Clarke-Cooper expressed gratitude to him.
"You will always be boss, whether you like it or not. I am so grateful to you Francois for giving me a chance and for believing in me and for making me realise that no is not an option and that 'I cannot do that Francois' is not an option and that, as you have always told me, there are no problems, only opportunities for solutions," the broadcaster said, before bumping elbows with her mentor.
Corporate communication specialist Tony Morrison epitomised his late friend of more than 20 years as "Jamaica's last true old school DJs, charismatic larger-than-life, big voice and bigger on-air persona of a bygone era in radio."
Morrison, in his tribute on Twitter, stressed that St Juste was a perfectionist who was focused on doing things well and pushing others to also do their best. St Juste was not only versed as a radio host, but succeeded as a MC, voice over talent and a disk jock.
"After all, who else could have dared to think about, let alone pull off, stepping into the outsized shoes of the towering radio legend that is Allan Magnus, to continue bringing humour, joy, good music and witty banter in equal measure?" Morrison wrote.
Tributes also came in from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Culture Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, the People's National Party, the Media Association of Jamaica and the Press Association of Jamaica.