News

Adventists Hail Aston Tai as National Church Hero

Hundreds of family, friends and well-wishers turned out to celebrate the life of the late businessman and philanthropist, Aston George Tai at the Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday, May 19, 2019.

Heading the list of attendees were His Excellency, The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica, Mrs. Marcia Bennette, Custos of St Thomas; and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Western, Mr. Anthony Hylton.

Dr. Meric Walker, Executive Secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

In his tribute on behalf of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, of which Tai was a member, Executive Secretary of the Union, Dr. Meric Walker described him (Tai) as a national church hero.

Sashekia Brown delivers one of her tributes in song.

“The church has deacons, directors, pastors, presidents and other positions, but no church hero,” explained Walker. “However, based upon Aston’s gifts for mission which include among other things selflessness, compassion, thoughtfulness, love, kindness, humility, respect, faithfulness to God, commitment to church and exemplary living, I believe in God’s book he is a church hero.”

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica”, Walker continued, “lauds the late Dr. Aston Tai as a Philanthropic Icon for religious and social causes, and we salute him for his steadfast commitment to the poor. He was a giant of a man who was taller than his height, richer than his possessions, greater than his achievements, wiser than his time.  His vision brighter than his sight, more powerful than his positions and his circumference of influence wider than his circle of friends.”

Generous to a Fault

In his tribute, Sir Patrick described Tai as a true Jamaican patriarch whose life was one of “fulfillment and satisfaction lived to bring joy and blessings not only to his family, but the country at large.”

“Mr. Tai was generous to a fault”, said Sir Patrick. “A humble and exceptionally gracious man whom love of God has blessed, and who in return, played his part in blessing humanity. He was conscious of God’s blessings in his life and his obligation to be a faithful steward.

His Excellency, The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica delivers his tribute to Dr. Aston Tai.

Sir Patrick made reference to a list of churches, schools, institutions and individuals that Tai contributed to, and highlighted the fact that his (Tai) wife Novelette stood with him as equal partner throughout all that he did. “But now, he belongs to the ages, not before of course he joined the pantheon of builders who laid the strong foundation on which the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is built,” Sir Patrick added.

Put His Pocket into His Mouth

The service was brought to laughter, though of a truth, when former principal of the Hagley Park Preparatory and his friend for over fifty years, Juliet Scott, in describing Tai’s kindness said he was one who did not “put his mouth in his pocket, but put his pocket into his mouth.”

Ms Juliet Scott, former principal of Hagley Park Preparatory School pays tribute to her friend of over 50 years.

“He did not only believe in church, he believed in the people in the building”, Scott continued. “He sat on many boards, and something I liked about him is that he was never fussy for church office. I remember Aston saying to me once ‘mi nuh educated enuh mi neva go a school but my ambition is for young people to be educated.’ And then he took in hand many young people, he took them out of the factory and raised them in class rooms because he sent them to West Indies College, now Northern Caribbean University (NCU). Many parents did not know that it was Aston who saw their children through. He was a down to earth person who loved the poor and the unfortunate and he gave up his very all to help them.”

Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica delivers to Homily.

The homily was done by Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica who reminded those in attendance that Jesus is still alive and still care even in the time of mourning and is touched with their grief.

Aston and Novelette Tai Foundation

Long-time friend of the Tai’s, Pastor Leon Wellington, launched the Aston and Novelette Tai Foundation during the service. It was set up to assist children in desperate situation such as abuse and homelessness.

Tai was born in Glengoffe, St Catherine. He was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 60 years and was well known for his support of community activities and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the areas of health and education.

He was the owner of the Jag Clarke Paper Co. which manufactured the humming bird series of exercise book. He was a Justice of the Peace for St. Thomas and served on various boards including those of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, NRMC (Love 101), the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Andrews Memorial Hospital, the Master Printers Association, and Yallahs Community Development Committee.

Tai’s legacy will long be remembered as his contribution to the Adventist Church and its institutions through The Tai Wing of the Andrews Memorial Hospital and the Aston and Novelette Tai Business and Skills Centre at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, which houses the NCU-owned Hilltop Hotel, supermarket, restaurant, copy centre and the NCU bookshop.

Tai is survived by wife Novelette; daughters Marlene, Carol, Beverley and Carlene; son Courtney; and other relatives. His body was interned at a family plot in Birds Hill, Clarendon on Monday, May 20, 2019.

Rafael Salazar delivers “Their is a Quiet Place”

Dr. Meric Walker, Executive Secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Family members of the late Dr. Aston Tai

President of Northern Caribbean University Dr. Lincoln Edwards give thanks for the Aston and Novelette Tai Business and skill Centre at NCU.

CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital pays tribute to Dr. Aston Tai on behalf of the hospital

Mrs. Novelette Tai listens attentively to tributes paid to her late husband Aston. Beside her is Dr. Tai’s sister Cynthia.

Dr. Tai’s daughter Beverley heaps praise on her dad whom she described as a good father

Pallbearers carry the casket with the late Dr. Aston Tai from the Andrews Memorial Church.

Those who came to celebrate the life of Dr. Aston Tai (Photos by Nigel Coke)


One comment

  • | 4 months ago

    Beautiful article on Aston Tai’s funeral. However, please be aware that the picture label “Sashekia Brown delivers one of her tributes in song” is mis labeled . The picture is actually that of Cynthia Chin (sister of Aston Tai).

Comments are closed.