Cayman’s oldest resident dies at 106

| 23/07/2021 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service
Wellesley Howell next to a photo of himself from his younger days

(CNS): Wellesley Howell, a saxophonist, shoemaker and much loved character, died on Thursday night at the ripe old age of 106. The father of Wesley Howell, the elections supervisor and chief officer in the labour ministry, he was not only Cayman’s oldest resident but a well-known and much loved man who defied the whole of idea of aging, even playing the sax at his own birthday celebrations this year. Born in Jamaica in 1915, Howell came to Cayman in 1958 to join a band. A year later he opened his store and shoe repair service, where he worked for the last 42 years.

Howell was recently featured in the Economics and Statistics’ promotional material for the forthcoming national census, given his iconic status.

As tributes poured in for him on social media, the consensus was that this was “a great man” who lived a good life well and long. Premier Wayne Panton said on his own social media pages that the country was mourning his loss.

“Mr Howell was a quiet but strong presence in our community. A shoemaker, saxophonist, dominoes player, husband, father and friend, he was loved and respected by all who had the pleasure to meet him or be a part of his long, fruitful life,” he said. “Personally, I enjoyed the occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with him. He was a blessing to us all, and will be sorely missed. My condolences to the Howell family, and all those who are grieving the loss of this great man.”

The Council of Older Persons said his commitment to living life to the fullest, while always striving to improve the lives of others, has been an inspiration.

“The Council will remember with great fondness how he, in his own quiet and humble way, helped and empowered many with his words of wisdom and encouragement,” a spokesperson said. “The fact that he played such an active and respected role in the community for so long, reflects the vision and the goals that the Council of Older Persons is working to achieve, for the benefit of all in our community. Our goal is for older persons to remain valued, respected and empowered throughout their lives, and we call on all Caymanians and residents to work with us towards this objective.”

See Up close with: Wellesley Howell by CNS

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Comments (19)

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  1. J.D. Mosley-Matchett says:

    I’m so disheartened to hear of Mr. Howell’s passing. Although we aren’t related, I remember doing a double-take the first time I passed by his shoe shop, because Howell was my maiden name. He was always such a gentleman. He reminded me so very much of my own Grandpa Howell that it almost feels as though I’ve lost my grandfather twice with Mr. Howell’s passing. Rest in peace, sir, for you’ve taught us how to live well.

  2. MERVYN CUMBER says:

    Howell and his Band “the Links” were a fantastic sound to behold back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Cayman has lost a true gentleman. May he Rest in Peace and continue to enjoy the music.

  3. Rick says:

    I knew Mr. Howell. He observed much and talked less. He must have been a cricketer, because he lived as a great test player and batsman; strategic, patient, selective yet in-the-moment. He played every ball on its own merit, but was outed on his second century. Life throws a lot of curve balls and if you make it to a half-a-century, you are considered successful. Mr. Howell was an excellent batsman. RIP, Mr. Howell. May you continue to win at the great game up yonder.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a fabulous picture! You can tell from his face that this man has had a helluva life. And a few stories to tell too. RIP Mr Howell.

  5. George Town citizen says:

    May he rest in peace. Speaking with him, I know he has always had a strong faith in God. He didn’t agree much with his church, but he stated to me he resolved in his mind from a younger age to sustain his worship to God alone. And I admire that in the man. Such humble beginnings, the humble profession of cleaning people’s dirty shoes, and his shoe shop next to where Farm Soldier use to be. Seeing how people the world is becoming more sinful, the increase in crime, the scoffers and disbelievers, the natural disasters in result of our sins to the earth and our neighbors … he leaves us at the right timing. 🙏🏽 My sincerest condolences to Wesley and his family.

    • Rick says:

      I knew the man well, I think. I did not know that he started off cleaning people’s dirty shoes? Pray tell, when was this?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great life.congratulations.Thanks to Lord for a wonderful life

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cayman oldest person was daisy Christian 109 years old when she died

  8. Anonymous says:

    A great person to have the pleasure of knowing. His services were unique. My condolences to the family for the loss of a unique person. He will be missed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    RIP, good sir! You were a true gentleman.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We all have elderly in our families; let’s cherish them and not abuse them, learn from them instead of ignoring them. Condolences to his family, extended kin and church family. Sad, very sad.

  11. Anonymous says:

    RIP Mr. Howell, thanks for being here! May the music continue!

  12. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    Much respect and love, Mr. Wellesley. You always were a kind heart and a good soul. You will be missed by many.

    Love and Blessings


  13. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderfully full life. Rip

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh how sad! Congratulations for living such a long and fulfilling life, especially in such a respectful and gentlemanly way. Respect to the family.

  15. Elvis says:

    Congratulations on a long great life. Sorry to hear this news.

    I hope i can match your 106 wow awesome job.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely delightful splendid old man.

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