Hundreds pay tribute to ‘quintessential jokester’

Registered Nurse Phyllis Payne-Dublin being consoled by her sister, Annis.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Hundreds of Vincentian and other Caribbean nationals on Oct. 27 paid their last respects to Basil Dublin, described as a “quintessential jokester,” who went to the Great Beyond on Oct. 18. He was 64.

Dublin – a former co-owner of the Golden Apple Restaurant in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, who hailed from Chapman’s Village, also in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – died in Brooklyn, where he had lived with his wife, Phyllis Payne-Dublin, a registered nurse.

Mourners at Caribe Funeral Home, near Ave. J in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, used myriad superlatives in describing Dublin. Among them: Pleasant, positive attitude, distinguished, sincere, genuine, kind, loving, communal, trustworthy and dependable.

Before rendering “Tear Drops,” Bishop Michael Ellis told the standing-room-only funeral service that he was “here to join with my good friend, Minister Dublin. He’s [was] my friend.”

Ex-police officer Kenneth Matthias, of New Grounds in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said he and Dublin went “a long way” since they were pupils at the Union Methodist School in South Central Windward in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Matthias said Dublin, who had worked in the life insurance industry, had urged him to enroll in life insurance on enlisting in the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.

“Basil was a very good friend,” said Matthias, stating that he and Dublin had, at one time, lived in the same building in Boston, MA. “You can call on him at any hour of the night.”

Both were also members of the Freedom Hall Church of God on Albany Avenue in Brooklyn, whose pastor is Jamaican Bishop Dr. Cecil Riley, who also eulogized Dublin.

An unidentified mourner, who hails from Dublin’s home village, said she wanted to pay tribute “before I break down.

“Whenever I wanted money, I did not go to my husband; I went to Basil,” she said, as mourners erupted in huge laughter.

“My husband was in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit], with Basil at his side,” she added. “He brought the family together.”

Paul Richards reads the obituary.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Registered nurse Judith Lewis, a member of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York, Inc., read a tribute on behalf of the Chi Eta Phi, Omega Chi Chapter, sorority.

“We, the members, express our sincere condolences to the Dublin family,” Lewis said. “Basil was such a distinguished man with such a pleasing personality and fun to be around.

“He was such a true supporter of this chapter, where his wife, Phyllis, is the current local president,” she added. “This organization’s motto is ‘Service for Humanity.’ And so, we provide service to those in need in the community. During Thanksgiving Holidays, we gather at the Dublin’s home and prepare baskets for the needy.

“At Christmas, we prepare gifts for the residents of a local nursing home, and we gather there again,” Lewis continued. “Never once Basil made us feel unwelcome. Instead, he took us to shop for the items. He was always ready to extend a helping hand.”

Lewis said Dublin, who loved to bake, prepared bakes and salt fish for the group to take on trips or for fundraising activities.

Registered Nurse Celia Bramble, a former president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York, Inc., said the group stood ready to assist Mrs. Payne-Dublin in any way possible.

Registered Nurse Pamela Charles, of the Caribbean Nurses Association of America, said: “We, as a family of nurses, will like to embrace [the Dublin family].”

One of Dublin’s nieces read a letter penned by Dublin’s elder sister in Tortola, breaking down before she could finish reading it. It was finished by Paul Richards, who also read the obituary.

“Everything he took from somebody, he gave it to me,” said the sister in the letter, to loud laughter. “Basil was a kind and loving person.”

Mourners also broke out with laughter when Beresford Latham, who attended elementary school with Dublin, revealed that he and Dublin were “so close, I’ll keep his secret.”

Registered nurses Celia Bramble (with microphone) and Judith Lewis pay tribute to Basil Dublin.
Photo by Nelson A. King

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