Hundreds of mourners jammed the pews of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in bidding farewell to prominent Vincentian businessman James Calvert “Cal” Crichton.
Crichton, who owned Cal’s Auto Repair Shop and Gas Station on Avenue H and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, died at State University of New York (SUNY) Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn on Oct. 27. He was 65. Relatives said he succumbed to coronary heart disease.
Nationals, primarily from Central Windward constituency in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, paid their last respects to Crichton in songs, hymns, scriptures, prayers and speeches at the wake and funeral service on Nov. 7. His body was cremated the next day at the Greenwood Crematory in Brooklyn.
Among nationals paying tribute were the St. Mark’s Men Group, which rendered a special selection to their late member; Crichton’s daughter, Rose; sister Vicki; and Oscar James and Don Sutherland, folklorists and cultural and musical figures, who were co-founders of the defunct Vincentian band Affetuosos.
James and Sutherland rendered “His Eye’s on the Sparrow” and “I Walk by Faith.”
Crichton’s brother-in-law, Jofford Sutherland, president of the Brooklyn-based Friends of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Committee, the New York arm of the incumbent Unity Labor Party (ULP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, read the obituary.
The church’s Vincentian-born pastor, the Rev. Dr. Glyger G. Beach, delivered an hour-long sermon on “So Hard to Say Goodbye.”
“To you, it might be a loss,” Rev. Beach preached, “but those loved ones have left a place in our hearts.
“What do you do when nobody can help you with your pain?” he asked. “Learn from Jesus.
“When all the doctors cant’ do anything with me, I know there’s a great physician. And his name is Jesus. Jesus is the great physician,” Rev. Beach added.
“In the final analysis, he (Crichton) did what Jesus said, ‘let not your heart be troubled’”, he continued. “But he was ready.
“The question is, are you ready?” Rev. Beach again asked. “Are you prepared for the Lord? Be good to people while you can. Cherish the moment you spend with people, because you’re not sure you’re going to see them again.”
Sutherland said Crichton, who had migrated to New York in 1970, “owned and operated a successful auto repair shop for over 40 years.”
“He enjoyed watching sports and movies,” Sutherland said. “’Cal’ will always be remembered for his generosity and dedication to his family and friends.”
Crichton is survived by Rose; brothers and sisters Joel, Noel, Earl, Val, Vie, Vicki, Nello, Pat, St. Clair, Vercil,Raffie, Gen, Normalie and Marva; many nieces and nephews; and the extended family.
Crichton’s wife, Daisy, died in 2001 from breast cancer, relatives said.
“No matter how old I get, I will always be daddy’s girl,” Rose Crichton told Caribbean Life. “I’ll miss him dearly. He always made me feel like his princess.
“He also taught me about dedication, hard work, being humble, gracious and loving your culture,” she added. “When he passed, he had a smile on his face. So I know he made his peace with God, and he is in a better place now. That is all that matters.”
Rose said memorial donations can be made to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.