Mar 02, 2021 Sports
Former ‘Golden Jaguar’ Robert ‘Bobby’ Fernandes laid to rest
By Franklin Wilson
In an atmosphere of serenity and satisfaction, the Sacred Heart R. C Church, Main Street, Georgetown yesterday morning accommodated a service of celebration for the life of the late ‘Golden Jaguar’ Robert John Fernandes (13-05-1947 – 19-02-2021) affectionately known as ‘Bobby’.
The former defender, who later became President of the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) from 2001 to 2015, was eulogized by six of his seven children, the youngest, Chantelle, not being able to attend but followed proceedings, like hundreds of others, via streaming.
Some family members, relatives and friends, observing covid-19 protocols attended yesterday’s service with officiating Priest, Monsignor Terrence Montrose in charge. Popular hymns, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, What a friend we have in Jesus were sung, lustily so by the attendees punctuated by the two tributes, eulogy, reading of the first reading, gospel and homily which was done by Msgr. Montrose.
He reminded the gathering that one thing is sure, “We will all die,” noting that what’s important is how we live our lives.
Major General (Rtd) Joe Singh in his tribute recalled that Fernandes and he were friends for half a century and encouraged all not to mourn his friends passing but to be thankful for the life he lived, noting that, “He did it his way with zest, vigor and vitality.”
The other tribute was done by Ivor O’Brien who served as Secretary of GFC during Fernandes’ entire tenure as President and he reminisced that ‘Bobby’ was a courteous, industrious and efficient administrator who focused on youth development.
The eulogy took on a unique format with Robert Fernandes children all pitching in as they remembered memorable moments spent with their father. His sporting career was passed on to all his kids as they too, pursued and succeeded in national careers in football, hockey and squash.
Guyana’s Squash Queen Nicolette recalled that her dad was many things to her, a coach, manager as well as her biggest fan and supporter. “He always seemed to be in the background, sometimes the only supporter, biting his tongue and rubbing his hands together. I realize now that daddy was also the first feminist I knew. He always made my sisters and I feel like anything was possible, that the narrow limits of what society often places on women didn’t apply in his eyes. We could achieve anything and he would do everything to help.”
Daddy in his own words: “Not surprisingly, daddy also wrote a small piece that we feel is very appropriate to read as we send him off. These are his words. It is indeed fortunate for someone to achieve most of the goals which they have set for themselves during their lifetime. Some might say that my goals were too simple, and therefore success was guaranteed. I suppose this is my fault, for after all is said and done, dreams have only the limits imposed by the dreamer.
While I was still a teenager, I can remember my goals coming into focus. They were three simple dreams, but by no means easy to achieve. My most urgent goal was to represent Guyana at football. With hundreds of footballers available for selection, it seemed at that time to be an impossible dream. It called for a lot of dedication and hard work, but most of all, the genetic skills and ball sense I had inherited from my parents.
My second goal was to discover my true identity as a Guyanese, by getting to know the wonderful land that is our birthright. The exploring of Guyana in its entirety is a task that actually needs more than one lifetime to achieve, and therefore success can only be measured by the amount of terrain covered. This exploration of our natural heritage also included the sharing of the knowledge gained through the exhibition and publication of books and photographs.
My third goal was by far the most important of all, as it will dictate the level of my happiness throughout my lifetime. This was to find a partner in life who will bear me many children and for us all to live happily till the end of our days. I would like to be able to say that my choice of a wife, and mother of my children was the result of some special skill on my part; but to be truthful, it was purely an act of divine intervention. My wife Luana is just the person I needed to make sure my most important dreams would come true.
So as we celebrate him today, we can remember him best by bussing a gaff, talking a story and calling he name, ‘Bobby Fernandes’, I think he would like that.”
The remains of the late Robert John Fernandes aka ‘Bobby’ was borne out of the Sacred Heart R.C Church to the singing of Frank Sinatra’s popular 1969 hit, “I did it my way,” destined for its final resting place by Chris Fernandes (brother), Robert Fernandes, Dominic Fernandes, Damian Fernandes, Shad Fernandes (children) and Rene Edwards.
The Fernandes family also expressed sincere gratitude to all – including his nurses over the years – who supported them during this time of bereavement.
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