JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Members of the Cabinet and Jamaicans of all walks of life, on Thursday, August 7, paid their respects to the late former Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke.
  • Minister Pickersgill told JIS News that Sir Howard was a man who gave sacrificial service to the nation.
  • President of The Mico University College, Professor Claude Packer, said Sir Howard always had a special place in his heart for Mico.

Members of the Cabinet and Jamaicans of all walks of life, on Thursday, August 7, paid their respects to the late former Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, as his body lay-in-state at The Mico University College, in Kingston, where he graduated as a teacher.

Among those viewing the body were: Attorney General, Hon. Patrick Atkinson; Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies; Minister of Education, Hon. The Rev. Ronald Thwaites; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson; members of the business community and uniformed groups.

Shortly after viewing the body inside the Mico Youth Counselling Resource and Development Centre, where members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) formed a guard of honour around the casket, Minister Pickersgill told JIS News that Sir Howard was a man who gave sacrificial service to the nation. “He was a real people person, who was committed to looking after the dispossessed and vulnerable,” he said.

“We shall miss him, but in missing him, we know that his memory will live on for a variety of reasons,” Mr. Pickersgill added.

For his part, Minister Thwaites said the late former Governor-General’s commitment to supporting others and in helping them live their best lives, “was a wonderful testimony of how we should all live.”

“Here is a man who distinguished himself by reliability and faithfulness. Another of his crowning achievements was that he had been married to the same woman for 75 years – he knew the real meaning of substance,” the Minister said.

President of The Mico University College, Professor Claude Packer, said Sir Howard always had a special place in his heart for Mico, noting that he contributed greatly to the institution’s development. “I will always be grateful to him for his advice to us and for what he did for Mico,” he said.

Professor Packer also noted that Sir Howard’s contributions to Jamaica were far- reaching and impactful. “He was a teacher and teachers are different. Teachers change the meaning of the human experience for life’s journey and he understood that. Even now as we recreate models for teaching, one has to embrace some of his teachings,” he said.

“A great teacher must be passionate about service, about people, passionate about knowledge, must be Christ like in many ways and must be a great communicator. Sir Howard possessed all these attributes and more. He certainly embodied what I regard as a great teacher,” he said.

In meantime, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, Lt. Col. Christopher Lobban, who worked as Sir Howard’s aide-de-camp from 1996 to 2002, described the late former Governor-General as the consummate gentleman.

“I cannot remember him ever being angry. He always had a certain amount of calmness about him. He was a man of God, a true Jamaican and there was no negativity surrounding anything that he did,” he said.

Sir Howard was a Cabinet Minister and a founding member of the People’s National Party, who was sworn in as Independent Jamaica’s fourth Governor-General on August 1, 1991.

He also taught for 23 years, first at the then Mico College and Practising School. Later, he served as headmaster at Belle Castle All-Age School, Port Antonio Upper School, and Montego Bay Boys’ School (now Corinaldi Primary School). His contribution to education also saw him holding the office of  President of the Jamaica Union of Teachers.

In addition to his contribution to education, Sir Howard served in the insurance industry as Senior Inspector and Branch Manager, Standard Life Insurance Company; Unit Manager, Jamaica Mutual Life; and Branch Manager, American Life Insurance Company.

He died at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston on Friday, July 11 at the age of  98. He has been accorded a State Funeral, which will take place on August 8 at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, 1 George Headley Drive, Kingston, after which his body will be interred in National Heroes Park.