Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2013 Contents A9
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Monday 16th december 2013 1128057
Michael Als was a man who had a commitment
to improve the lives of working people from early
in his teenage years until his death.
That was how deputy president of the Banking
and Insurance General Workers Union (BIGWU),
Mario Als, described his brother.
Michael, who founded the BIGWU, an organ-
isation, which represents thousands of workers,
passed away on Thursday at the age of 67.
Mario said: "Even after he retired as an active
member of the union, he moved to Toco and
became active in improving the lives of the ordinary
members of the community there. He was always
involved in a social movement."
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday
offered condolences to Als colleagues and friends,
describing him as a well-known citizen who
impacted his community since the era of the 1970s
to present day.
She said in a release: "Michael Als was a political
and social activist ever since he was a young man
and despite experiencing difficult times during his
life, he persevered through his love and commit-
ment to country to achieve the status of trade
unionist, mentor, teacher and writer. He was also
a husband and devoted father."
In a release, the Toco Foundation said T&T had
lost an outstanding son of the soil.
It added: "Michael possessed tremendous
courage to stand up for ordinary people and what
he thought was right.
"Whether the odds were against him or not, he
pursued his philosophy and objectives of social
justice and equality for all with a tenacity of purpose
few in his field possessed."
He was defined by UWI s deputy prin-
cipal Prof Rhoda Reddock as the quintes-
sential Caribbean and University of the
West Indies (UWI) man and as a member
"of that generation that is now taking its
leave... he fully embodied the ideals and
aspirations that so defined the post-inde-
pendence ethos in the region."
In this way the life of Prof Lawrence
Aldridge Wilson, father of T&T Guardian s
chief editor, business, Anthony Wilson, was
celebrated yesterday at the Lady of Fatima
RC Church, Bushe Street, Curepe.
The church was filled with friends, col-
leagues, family and well-wishers, among
them Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Wilson, who lectured at UWI, St Augus-
tine s Faculty of Agriculture for decades and
was its dean from 1981 to 1984 and 1988
to1994, made significant contributions to
the region and world in tropical agriculture.
He also acted as campus principal on several
He died on December 3, 18 days after his
79th birthday. He was remembered with
respect, affection and even laughter as his
family lovingly shared anecdotes about him.
Tributes were paid to the former plant
physiologist by Reddock on the university s
behalf and its Food and Agriculture Faculty
and by two of his four sons---Anthony and
Evan---who also read remarks by their moth-
er and their brother Gareth.
In her tribute, Reddock recalled the con-
tributions Wilson made to the university
and their effects on many who came into
contact with a man she defined as very
quiet and possessing an air of calm.
She said: "He served on many interna-
tional boards and held many titles, including
founding member, adviser and consultant
and honorary member.
"He served as chair of the board of
trustees of the CGIAR, the International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria,
the world s leading research partner in find-
ing solutions to hunger, malnutrition and
"A true West Indian scholar, Prof Wilson
will forever be remembered as a man who
contributed significantly to education,
research and development in the field of
To his children, however, he was, simply,
Dad. Anthony, Wilson s third son, said: "He
led a full and rewarding life and received
many honours locally, regionally and inter-
nationally for his many contributions to the
field of agriculture but for us, his four sons,
he was a man we loved, admired, respected
because of the upright and righteous way
in which he led his life. He led by example."
Anthony recalled his father s disciplined
habit of getting up at 5 am every day and
working for at least three hours before having
breakfast, which he said he maintained until
almost the end of his life.
"Lawrence Wilson was a man of God.
He lived his life through the code of the
Ten Commandments. As a father of four
boys his outstanding qualities were calmness
and tolerance," he said.
Wilson was not only remembered for his
academic prowess but also for his love of
cricket and pan. Anthony recalled his father s
love for pan was developed while he attended
UWI s Mona Campus. Panman Dane Gul-
ston played How Great Thou Art during
Anthony s brother, Evan, delivered a trib-
ute on behalf of his mother, Desiree, who
jokingly recalled Wilson as "not a humble
man at all," to which many chuckled were
heard. His wife wrote Wilson had a sense
of quirky humour which he kept to the very
"This was such a positive part of his char-
acter that I once said to a friend that I could
never leave him because who would make
"Yes, he was calm and tolerant but to the
point of irritation. Do you know what it
was like to live with someone with whom
you could not pick a fight?" she wrote, at
which members of the congregation laughed.
Wilson was interred at UWI s cemetery,
True West Indian
T&T Guardian's chief editor, business, Anthony Wilson, fourth from left, stands with family
members, from left, brother, Gareth Wilson, mother Desiree, and other brother, Evan
Wilson, during yesterday's funeral service of his father, Prof Lawrence Aldridge Wilson, at
the Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, Curepe. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
dies at 67
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