Sunday, 17 February 2013

FAREWELL TO HEATHER: Family and famous friends gather to celebrate her life one last time

IN LOVING MEMORY: “She has really and truly given us a testimony to live by.”  

Dozens of dignitaries attended. Scores of longtime colleagues and admirers came to pay their respects. But though it paid tribute to a woman who spent the greater part of her life in the service of others, Dr. Heather Little-White’s thanksgiving service (hosted at Jamaica College on Saturday morning) celebrated the person behind the distinguished name. 

“Of all the facets of her life, three things stood out: her humility, sense of forgiveness, and her willingness to serve the poorest of society,” said Dr. Simon Clarke, a close friend for decades, during his tribute to the late nutritionist and lifestyle columnist. “Her mission, she said, was to share what she had with the humblest of persons.” 

Speaker after speaker elicited nods of concurrence and intermittent applause during the lively and nearly 2-hour service, as they highlighted Dr. Little-White’s immense contributions that touched lives islandwide and inspired countless onlookers who simply marveled at how she managed to accomplish wonders in spite of her condition as a paraplegic, owing to a robber’s bullet from the summer of 1999. “Heather turned her disadvantage into advantage,” noted Rev. Dr. Maxine Martin. “She has really and truly given us a testimony to live by.” 

While her brother Lennie recalled how “she maintained this broad umbrella of immediate and extended family”, niece Damali eulogized her as the “fire in my heart” and the “stimulus in my brain”. 

Well-known and highly regarded for her expertise on issues ranging from nutrition to human relationships, Little-White’s service brought out the likes of PM Portia Simpson-Miller, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, former PM Bruce Golding, reps from the Jamaica Football Federation, and reggae icon/family friend Jimmy Cliff. DiMario McDowell and Chris McDonald rendered tributes in song. A love offering was collected to benefit the newly established Little-White Education Fund.

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