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JIS News

Scores of family members and well wishers turned out to say farewell and celebrate the life of community stalwart, Jamaican born Oswald (Ossie) George Smith, one of the founding members of the Jamaica Society Manchester.
Mr. Smith who was born in Kingston in 1936 and migrated to Manchester at age 20, was remembered as a proud Jamaican who was committed, honest and hated injustice in any form.
In the eulogy, Mr. Smith’s son, Oswald Jr. said his father’s greatest passion was his work in the black community.
“From becoming a member of the Caribbean Federal Association in 1959, then as an early member of the Jamaica Society in 1962, right up to his illness last year, he worked tirelessly to improve the position, standing and recognition of the West Indian community’s contribution to the British ways of life,” he said.
He recalled that his father was the longest serving Chairman of the Jamaica Society, and served as Secretary and Treasurer of the organization and held similar roles in the Northern Regional Council, the Manchester City Council’s Community relations committee, the Jamaica Folk Ensemble and the West Indian Sports and Social Club.
“He was a politically astute man, with strong views on every aspect of life and because of his convictions and devotion for the betterment of all, he was loved and respected by many who knew him,” the son said.
Former Mayor of Trafford, Council Whit Stennett said Mr. Smith was a trusted friend who was always on the side of the underdog. He added that Mr. Smith contributed to the discussions on the policy for equal opportunities, and in the 1970s challenged inequalities in the education system.
“He was not wishy washy. He was held in high esteem; he was always keen to expand his knowledge, and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. His living was not in vain and his passing is a great loss,” Councillor Stennett said.
Mr. Smith who died on December 18, attended the St. Joseph’s Infant and St. Aloysius Boys Schools in Kingston. He was an apprentice with the Jamaica Railway Corporation. His first job in the United Kingdom was with the Railway in Gorton, where he spent 10 years as a machinist.
He gained qualification in Mechanical Engineering, computer controlled lathes and welding as well as a BA degree in Youth and Community Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University when he was 59.Mr. Smith is survived by his son, a daughter and two grandchildren, among other relatives.