(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is mourning the passing of businessman and philanthropist, Aston Tai.
Tai, brother of the late Lady Cooke, passed away on Saturday in Weston, Florida, after a long illness. He was 93.
A justice of the peace for St Thomas, Tai served on various boards including the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Love 101, West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Andrews Memorial Hospital, the Master Printers Association, and Yallahs Community Development Committee.
“Aston was a friend and sound adviser and a source of tremendous support to me,” said Dr Patrick Rutherford, former CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital. “He functions with a quiet confidence and was not afraid or unwilling to share his wealth of knowledge he gained from his vast business experiences. He was always eager and willing to facilitate others to become successful.”
Tai, who was born in Glengoffe, St Catherine, was well known for his support of community activities and the Seventh-day Adventist church in the areas of health and education.
“In my past 30 years of closely associating with Aston and his family, I have found that outside of family and the success of his farm, he gets his greatest satisfaction in helping others to succeed by freely offering advice, gained by experience, to those who seek it,” said Pastor Leon Wellington, former president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica. “He is known to be generous in supporting his church and its institutions, causes that advance the public good, humanity, and especially the poor.”
Tai’s legacy will long be remembered as his contribution to the Adventist Church and its institutions through The Tai Wing of the Andrews Memorial Hospital, and the Aston and Novelette Tai Business and Skills Centre at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, which houses the NCU-owned Hilltop Hotel, supermarket, restaurant, copy centre, and the NCU bookshop.
“Besides his contributions to institutions, he and his wife supported hundreds, if not thousands of students who could not have made it through school without their help — from the elementary to the tertiary level. I have a great deal of respect for his heart of compassion and generosity,” said Wellington.
On August 14, 2005 Tai and his wife were conferred with the Doctor of Laws degree, during the university’s graduation service, for their support to the institution and Jamaica. Tai is also the recipient of a national award for meritorious service.
“Jamaica and the Adventist church in Jamaica has lost an icon and one of its beloved sons, Aston Tai, whose life was poured out in service to his church and his fellow men. His thoughtfulness and selfless service to humanity will be a lasting legacy to many families who were beneficiary of his generosity,” said president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica, Pastor Everett Brown.
“We join his wife and family to mourn his passing, and use this medium to offer the bereaved family our prayers and support as we embrace the hope that we have in the resurrection,” Brown added.
Tai is survived by wife Novelette, daughters Marlene, Carol, Beverley and Carlene; son Courtney and other relatives.