Monday, 15 January 2018

THE LONG GOODBYE: Glowing tributes flowed, stirring songs rang out as mourners bid farewell to Ian Boyne

STATE OF REST: Boyne's casket is prominently displayed as mourners participate in Sunday's funeral service at the NISC in Kingston.

IT was only fitting that Kelly-Ann Boyne gave the most touching (and longest) tribute before the sea of mourners who gathered inside the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday morning, to join bereaved relatives, the JIS family and other colleagues in paying their final respects to Ian Boyne, the outstanding Jamaican who not only distinguished himself as an accomplished journalist, TV personality, public intellectual and speech writer for national leaders, but also as mentor, advocate and family man.

Boyne’s older daughter, Kelly opened her moving remembrance in song (“It Is Well with My Soul,” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”) as she made her way from the back of the arena to the podium to delve into the meat of the matter. She recalled her dad as a gentle giant who doted on his kids and was devoted to his wife and the rest of his kin. Theirs was a home where intellectual fervour was cherished equally with humour and a love of the good life.

Kelly, wearing a soulful afro and a dramatic black grown fit for the opera stage, also interspersed her tribute with video clips featuring other relatives recalling Ian’s idiosyncrasies, his joie de vivre and immense kindness. Earlier, she accompanied shy younger sis, Brianna, to the stage to deliver her brief tribute, in which she recalled her father as a parent who had no qualms about showering his baby girl with kisses and other displays of affection. Ian had a big heart.

His 20-something-year-old son André, now the man of the family, knows he has large shoes to fill and has vowed to step up to the challenge to make dear ol’ dad proud. He described his father as “brilliant” and a lover of a good debate, but readily teased him about regularly tuning in to the Lifetime channel to get his suspense fix.

Boyne’s wife, Margaret, didn’t have the strength to make it to the podium, so she kindly asked emcee Fae Ellington to read her tribute on her behalf. Adding ample flair that enlivened the reading, Ellington spoke of a man who dedicated a great deal of his time to reading and reading and reading. Ian Boyne devoured books. He bought tonnes of reading material online.

Evidence of his romantic side, he took his wife out for wining and dining every Saturday night. Margaret said he was a man of boundless gratitude and deep spirituality, which led him to becoming a pastor.

To wit, several of his fellow clergymen gave tributes during Sunday’s service, as did his good friends Dr. Glen Christian and Ken Bird, who said he baptized Ian Boyne into the Adventist Church.

All in all, Ian Boyne got a glowing send-off (sometimes reflective, sometimes celebratory) that ran for almost four-and-a-half hours, but truly befitted the measure of the man.

The stage was eye-catchingly done-up with a white backdrop and blue and yellow ribbons, and two gigantic video screens. A band of musicians was on hand. The National Dance Theatre Company performed the Kerry-Ann Henry-choreographed “Haven.” Entertainers from the gospel fraternity (Rondell Positive, Kevin Downswell and Jermaine Edwards) ministered in song, as did Ken Boothe, the Jamaica Constabulary Force Choir and staffers/choristers from the JIS, impeccably attired in black and white, as they gave a rendition of “Jerusalem.”

Following the service, Boyne’s body was interred at the Dovecot Memorial Park in St. Catherine. Ian Boyne drew his last breath on December 18 due to complications from heart failure. He was 60 years old.

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