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Hugh Hamlett – a true gentleman

Hugh Hamlett – a true gentleman

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by Roxanne DeFreitas

We remember a life today and all that made him the man he was – his work, his gifts, all that he enjoyed and found rewarding… calling to mind his beginnings, his journey, and the wonderful stories we love to share about him.

Mediator, meticulous, mentor, motivator, diplomat, administrator and peacemaker are just a few words to describe my grandfather Hugh Haynes Hamlett. He was and still is in my mind one of the last remaining members of a dying breed – a true gentleman, a man of integrity. Hugh Haynes Hamlett otherwise known as HH or Hambone was born at Sion Hill on December 13th 1916, to parents Richard Hamlett and Regina Hamlett nee Carmichael. He was an only child. {{more}}

He attended the Kingstown Anglican School and the St. Vincent Boys Grammar School. He lost the scholarship the year he completed school by one mark to Henry Williams, who was also known as HH. His first job was at a newspaper publishing house and he also taught at the Emmanuel High School at the same time – his combined salary was $7.50. He later joined the public service and worked in Union Island as a Revenue Officer. He was then transferred to the Barrouallie Revenue Office. He then went unto the Treasury Department and then the Audit Department. At the Audit Department he worked his way up to become the Director of Audit.

We honor a life today – his character, his integrity, his commitment to the things he stood for – recognizing his good heart, his sense of humor, and the helping hand he so often extended to others.

As Auditor for the Windward Islands he worked in Grenada for a brief time in 1961. It was during this time that his last child and only son Michael was born. After leaving the public service he went on to become the CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Building and Loan Association. He received his MBE from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1965, later he was awarded the CBE, and on several occasions took on the role of acting Governor-General.

Hugh Hamlett met his wife Verina at a wedding where she was the chief bridesmaid – according to the custom of the day the chief bridesmaid cut the cake with the most eligible bachelor who happened to be Mr. Hamlett, little did they know that they would be practicing for their own wedding – the rest as they say is history.

When my grandfather died he was the oldest member of the Kingstown Methodist Church, and a past member of the St. Vincent Male Choir. Hugh Hamlett was an avid cricket player during his youth and enjoyed going to see the West Indies cricket team play whenever he could. He loved to travel and see the world and loved taking photographs (something he passed on to all of us). My grandfather was a religious man, he always began and ended his days the same way on his knees – and it was on his knees that he took sick. Even on his death bed he somehow found the strength to write a note with his eyes closed, instructing those present to give Mrs. Morris a cheque for the church.

We celebrate a life today and all that earned him the love, the admiration, the respect of family and friends, feeling grateful for our time with him, enriched for having known him, feeling blessed to have his remarkable spirit here among us forever.

My grandfather was a very quite and humble man. He did not say much but when he did it was of substance and everyone listened and respected what he had to say. My grandfather Hugh Hamlett believed strongly in the family and invested his time and resources in his family. His long marriage attests to this. He was a model husband, father, grandfather, and friend to those he left behind. He never held a grudge, you never knew if he was angry or upset, as he always had a pleasant disposition.

While many persons consider the number 13 an unlucky one, my grandfather Hugh Haynes Hamlett did not.

He was born on the 13th of December;

His drivers licence receipt number was 13;

He married the 13th child of 16 children;

His mother in whose grave he will be buried, died on July 13th 1960;

When he bought the land to build his home at Montrose the lot number was 13;

At the time of his death there was 13 members of his immediate family;

His first grandchild graduated from Florida Atlantic University on December 13th, 2002;

He died at 3:10 am on Saturday April 30th. If you reverse 3:10 you will get 013 or the number 13.

My grandfather had the ability to turn something you might think was terrible into something good. He always believed that there was a lesson to learn in every situation in life.

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