The hum of dozens of motorcycle postal workers twice took over sections of the ABC Highway in the funeral procession today of Postmaster General Margaret Ashby.
The cortege first proceeded to the Seventh Day Adventist Auditorium at Oldbury, St. Philip, where relatives, friends, fellow churchgoers and staff of the Barbados Postal Service gathered to say farewell to Ashby, who died two weeks ago after a battle with multiple myeloma.
During the service, many remembered her as a lady who always gave wise counsel, worked diligently to achieve her goals and encouraged others to do the same, was passionate about her work, praised the achievements of her colleagues; someone who was always there for her family, and someone with “an unwavering and profound love for God”.
Daughter Lana Ashby, an assistant professor of Durnham University, said her mother left her and her sister, Lisa, with three significant legacies.
“Spiritually, she always told us to put God first, and even at exam time we still had to go to church every night there was a service. She gave us wise financial principles and encouraged us to secure “a piece of the rock” for ourselves before we reached 30 years old; and psychologically, she knew the odds she faced growing up and always pushed us to work hard to achieve our goals, including having us recite all our multiplication tables on the way to and from school and restricting our television viewing to only three channels and a maximum of one hour – half an hour during school time,” she said.
“Don’t forget to pay your bills at the Post Office, I want to keep my people employed,” her daughter and her nephew recalled the postal chief as saying frequently.
Ashby also kept newspaper clippings of any positive reports on customer service from her workers, who all spoke of her dedication to duty, even coming in during her vacations for meetings and on one day staging a special luncheon to celebrate her immediate staff.
Williams eulogized the Postmaster General’s passion for her work, outlining her vision for the Postal Service up to the end of her life.
Recalling his final conversation with his aunt at the hospital, Williams said “she asked about what was happening in Barbados, and looked forward to talking to the new minister about all the plans she had for the Postal Service.
“For example, she wanted to tell him about leveraging the network of the postal service to make it easier for Barbadians to pay their obligations to central Government. In other words, she believed she still had work to do”.
He also recalled his “Aunt Cheryl’s love of family: “When my mother’s breast cancer returned and had spread to her lungs, Aunt Cheryl spent every weekend with her, praying for her and taking care of her every need. My mother passed in February this year, and little did we expect that Aunt Cheryl would go so soon afterwards, but life is fickle at times.
“Aunt Cheryl was not shy to give advice, and she had the ‘annoying habit’ of always being right. In her last conversation with her family, she gave us a sermon and asked us to pray at the end of it. We also heard her whisper, ‘Lord, my healing is in Your hands’, and the theme of her sermon was No excuses. She reminded us, ‘There is no excuse not to go after your goals, hard work seldom fails, and there is no excuse not to have a relationship with God.’”
In his homily, Pastor Winston Cooke reminded the congregation, “We are only here for a short time; we must use that time wisely so we can say ‘thank you’ when it comes to
He then counselled them on what he would do if today was his last day on earth: “I would recommit myself to God; tell my immediate family how much I love them; make sure that I am at peace with everyone, that I bear no malice, envy or hatred towards anyone, and to mend fences if things are not so great, and to ensure all my legal and financial matters are in order. At the end of it all, the relationships we build with God, our family and the people around us are what matter most.”
At the end of the service, the entourage of postal workers on motorcycles accompanied her cortege to the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens for her burial. (DH)