‘The perfect husband, father and provider’.
That’s how the late former President of the Senate and co-founder of the Nation Publishing Company Limited Sir Fred Gollop, QC, was today hailed by three key members of his family.
During a moving two-hour-long official funeral service at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens in Christ Church, attended by a long list of dignitaries headed by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley and other members of Parliament, Sir Fred was also described as someone who understood the value of hard work.
“Dad enjoyed every day of his working life. He guided us every day by his example and taught us the value of hard work,” said an emotional Renee Kowlessar, who was flanked by her sisters Robyn Gollop-Knight and Reissa Galt as she delivered glowing words of appreciation about their dad.
She explained before the large gathering, which also included several members of the legal and journalistic fraternities both of which Sir Fred was a part, that even though they grew up with the Nation newspaper, “we had no idea what dad was building”.
“To us, he was daddy, first and foremost,” Renee said as she and her two siblings wiped tears away from their eyes.
“Some of our fondest memories were our annual family holidays,” she added, while noting that for three weeks every summer, they would travel the world with their mum and dad.
“It was the time of year when dad would do things like enter the elevator on the way down to breakfast having totally shaved off his moustache and act as if nothing had happened,” Renee further recalled, while emphasizing that their father had a sense of humour.
She also revealed that after every overseas holiday, Sir Fred, who co-founded the Nation newspaper with veteran journalists Harold Hoyte and Carl Moore, expected them to write an essay on their trip.
“Perhaps dad was hoping that one of us would follow in his footsteps in journalism,” she added, smiling only briefly.
During what appeared to be a painful trip down memory lane, Sir Fred’s daughters also said that their mother – Lady Gollop – would always say “dad was the perfect husband, father and provider.
“Dad’s achievements could not have materialized without Yvonne. He always reserved the most special thanks and appreciation for her. They were such a united front,” the eldest daughter added in reference to her mother.
In his spirited sermon, Reverend Guy Hewitt said Sir Fred exemplified the gift of love during his lifetime.
“More than anything, his first love was his family and his friends. His devotion to his wife, daughters, sisters, son-in-law . . . adored grandchildren, close friends and those who had the privilege of knowing him, working with him and calling him friend.
“Then there was his love for his professions, both law and as a member of the inner bar and journalism,” Hewitt pointed out, adding that the former chairman of the Trinidad-based One Caribbean Media group demonstrated “immense” leadership and entrepreneurial competencies.
At the graveside, wreaths were laid by Lady Gollop and other relatives, as well as Prime Minister Mottley, former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, former Attorney General Sir Henry Forde, President of the Senate Sir Richard Cheltenham, former Deputy Prime Minister Dame Billie Miller and veteran New York correspondent for the Nation Tony Best.
As Sir Fred’s mahogany casket was lowered into the grave, Lady Gollop and other relatives comforted each other as tears flowed once more.