Noel “Shines” King – Eulogy by Tony Hadley
I would like to thank Greta, Gene and Tracey for giving me this opportunity to eulogize a man who is family to some and friend to many. While it is difficult to crystallize 64 years of life into just a few minutes I will attempt to do so having received assistance from persons who were also close to him.
I would like to ask that we do not come to mourn today but to celebrate his
life – the life of Noel Hughes Conway King more fondly known as “Shines” who was
I am emphasizing this aspect because I believe that this heritage influenced choices he made in later life – in Music and Education.
he entered the Ivy League of the
While at Grammar school he took his love of Music to the Victoria Park to sing calypsos as Lord Shines. You must remember that singing calypsos in public as a Grammar School student would have been considered unbecoming. In addition to his calypso singing, he became a founding member of the Kingstown Chorale Group and performed with them for over a year..
In 1956 he became a Ratho Mill Villager - a group of young people who enjoyed each other’s company of which I was a part. One Villager writes: “He was not only intellectually superb but also will be remembered by the Villagers for his composition and the singing of his Calypso titled “The Villagers in Town”. This period of time along with the formation of lifelong friendships, was extremely formative and from which many of us draw compassion, strength, a sense of fun and a positive outlook on life. These were fun years filled with adventure and mischievous pranks one of which was a moonlight raid of the Honorable Milton Cato’s mango grove which came to an abrupt and wild end when someone stuck their head in a Jack Spaniards nest. Yes, Noel was there. I think that the late and former Prime Minister Cato intentionally bred the Jack Spaniards as protection for his mangoes.
began his life long love of being an educator in 1959 and followed in his
grandfather’s footsteps. His teaching
career began at the
1963 he migrated to
The weather records indicate that 1964 was a hot summer. During this hot weather, Noel dated Greta and a whirlwind romance culminated with Noel proposing and marrying Miss Greta Duncan in October of that year. His son Gene was born in 1965 followed by Tracey his daughter in 1967. Both events were momentous occasions, a source of pride and joy for Noel and Greta.
In 1967 he started working with the Department of National Defense as a teacher of English until his retirement in 1995. His grateful students ranged from Civil Servants, Military people to Judges. During this period he was elected twice as President of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Montreal, first in 1972 for one year and again in 2000 until the present. Not only as President, but as a member, he worked passionately and tirelessly in the service of the Association and at the community at large. One lady in a restaurant told me that Noel did not hesitate to write a letter for her when it was required.
Throughout his life and especially here in
their way back from the show, the police pulled them over. They were asked if
they had any alcohol or if they had been drinking. They provided a satisfactory answer about the
alcohol but it turned out they were driving on the wrong side of the road and
heading away from
His son Gene talks about the reel-to-reel tape recorder which his Father used to record parties. Using his professional recorder and his varied collection of music, Noel shared a love of music with his son and positively influenced him in a successful music career today. I have no doubt that he had a most positive influence on his daughter Tracey but perhaps in a different way.
not only loved music but his family also. When his children moved down the 401
As I approach the end of this celebration, I would like to share with you how Noel got to be known as Shines. There are several theories but I know that I have the right one since he personally told me a few years ago. It all started as a youngster in McKies Hill when he was given a really close haircut. In those days there was no Brylcream so Vaseline or Cocoa butter was used to condition the scalp after the haircut – don’t forget his father was a pharmacist and his mother a nurse. His older brother GEK (Gladstone Edwin King) and my older brother Joscelyn were partners in mis-adventures and had to escape Noel who wanted to follow them. So as they were hiding from Noel and he was seeking them out, both saw Noel approaching them with this shiny scalp and my brother said “Here comes Shines” and the rest is history.
In conclusion, I would like to impart two comforting messages – my own and the words of a famous hymn. My message is that let us continue to appreciate his life as a blessing and inspiration, and while it is normal to grieve for one that has gone ahead of us, I am sure that Noel Hughes Conway King would want us to carry on while keeping him alive in our hearts.
The 2nd message is and I quote:
“Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes, shine through the gloom and point me to the skies, Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee. In life and death, O Lord, Abide with me”.