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Popular calypsonian dies suddenly at home

Popular calypsonian dies suddenly at home


The results of the post mortem examination to ascertain the cause of death of 51-year-old Gerard ‘Rasum’ Shallow, well-known educator, calypsonian and New Democratic Party (NDP) Senator will be keenly anticipated.{{more}}

Shallow’s body was discovered on his premises at Mount Pleasant in the Mesopotamia Valley around 11:00 p.m. Sunday, March 4.

Wife, Gailene, told SEARCHLIGHT that she could not believe that her husband was dead, saying that apart from fluctuating blood pressure, her husband was in good health.

“Up to now I cannot believe,” she said, adding that Rasum seemed fine, all day Sunday.

She said that the family returned home shortly after 8:00 p.m. from church on Sunday, and shortly after, Rasum told her that he was going to do some minor repairs on his vehicle.

Rasum would often do his own repairs, Gailene Shallow explained.

But her last interaction with her husband, according to the grieving woman, was when he came in and instructed her to close the kitchen door, because of the high winds. He also asked her to keep the “glass door” open, in case she was sleeping when he wanted to enter the house.

However, Gailene said that later, as she left her son’s room and was making her way into the kitchen, she heard a neighbour calling her, saying that it appeared as though something had happened to her husband, as he was lying on the ground.

She said that when she went outside, she saw her husband on the ground and immediately checked to see if he was alive.

“I shook him and checked his pulse, but I realized that he was not breathing,” Gailene said.

By this time, other nearby residents had already arrived on the scene, following which calls were made to the relevant authorities.

“It all happened so fast,” the grieving woman said.

She reflected that the family had spent Sunday together.

“I twisted his hair, because he said that he wanted to look good for school on Monday,” Gailene explained, adding that she would usually do his hair, but that she did it early on Sunday, as the family was preparing to go to church.

“He was good, he didn’t complain or anything like that,” Shallow said.

She is now anxiously awaiting the results of a post mortem examination, which are expected to be released today, Tuesday, March 6.

The couple has been married since 1994, and have two children; but they have been together for a total of 35 years, she said.

She remembered Rasum as a good person and one who did not have many enemies.

“Whether NDP or Labour, everybody and Rasum were real tight,” she said.

He interacted with the youths who live in the area, she added, saying that he was generous and fun.

“I am leaving everything up to God. He has a plan. I am just taking it one day at a time,” Gailene Shallow said.

Rasum’s sudden death has brought an outpouring of emotion and tributes from persons of all walks of life, including fellow calypsonians, educators, politicians, neighbours, his former students and members of the general public.

Rasum rose to prominence as one of this country’s most prolific singers and song writers, producing a number of hits including the classic ‘Perseverance’, ‘Take me’ and ‘Pom Pom Sweet’, a number he did with backing band X-A-Dus.

His music was recently featured during the Home Coming celebrations in 2009.

He dabbled in politics and was selected as the New Democratic Party’s Marriaqua candidate to oppose Girlyn Miguel in the 1998 General Elections. He lost and was subsequently appointed as a Senator.

In the run up to the 2010 December General Elections at a political rally in Mesopotamia, he endorsed the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the party’s candidate during that election Girlyn Miguel.

At the time of his death, Rasum was a teacher at the St Clair Dacon Secondary School. Prior to that, he had spent many years as a member of the faculty of the Cane End Government School.

Rasum was a member of the well-known Shallow family of Mesopotamia, which includes his sister, paediatrician Dr Rosemarie Boyle and brother Elliot “Mystery” Shallow, also a calypsonian.