Hendrick Quarless was known as the jack of all trades in his community and whatever he put his mind to he usually got it done successfully.
He was the tailor who outfitted grooms, a baker who prepared spectacular wedding cakes and other traditional Barbadian pastries in all sizes and shapes. It is said that his homemade wines were the best and he also tried his hand at being a perfumist and musician.
As a reverend, he ministered to hundreds as he held positions at various Pentecostal churches across the island.
Today, he was the centre of attention at his Bow Road, Codrington, St Michael home where he celebrated his 100th birthday with a visit from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and a thanksgiving service that was attended by family and friends, including his 99-year-old pal Dorcy Greaves.
Quarless, who suffers with dementia, was unable to effectively interact with Sir Elliott or his visitors. However, his adopted daughter Pamela Dottin, whom he raised from 18 months old, said he was fully aware that it was his birthday and had enquired about what suit he would be wearing to greet the Governor General.
Dottin recalled that he always provided for her and his five biological children even during the most difficult of times.
She said he christened her when she was almost two years, prayed for her throughout her life and was loving, caring and considerate.
“He was always a really pleasant person and, in fact, I have never heard him raise his voice until he got old. And he was the sort of person, when he was in his 80s and up to 95, that used to take the bus and go up to St Philip to church. And he would leave home to go and help old people and he would always be older than these old people he was going to help. He would go and help them repair the house, he would help them paint the house so he always had that caring nature. We came up where he would give away everything he had because we were told that you were supposed to share,” said Dottin, who resides with Quarless.
She added: “Daddy was the sort of person who walked very quickly, for instance, and we would go to almost every Pentecostal church there was in Barbados. And I would walk behind daddy singing ‘daddy, don’t you walk so fast’ and daddy would tell me I am his sweet girl.”
Greaves, who has been a friend of the centenarian for around 85 years, described the birthday boy as a “true gentleman” who was always kind to those in their neighbourhood.
“I used to come here everyday when he was stronger and I was younger and we would sit and talk. He is a nice man and up to now me and he does still talk.
“I used to always come and when he was cooking and baking and get some. I remember when he used to be going to church dressed in his long cloth,” said Greaves who should be celebrating her 100th birthday on March 22 next year.