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Friday 17 August 2018
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Media salutes veteran journalist John

GOODBYE DJ: Family, friends and colleagues of Express features and publications editor Deborah John, yesterday turned out at St Joseph RC church to pay respect to the veteran journalist.

Joan Rampersad

The media fraternity turned out to pay their last respects to colleague Deborah John at her funeral held at St Joseph RC Church, St Joseph yesterday.

As mourners approached the church they were greeted by steelpan music from pan virtuoso Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, a favourite of the deceased, who played numbers such as All I Ask, Woman is Boss and What a Friend We have in Jesus.

John’s daughter, Nadia, in the eulogy, described her mother as a wonderful and beautiful person.

She said DJ, as her mom was so fondly called, was so many things to so many people. She was an enigma.

She also said her mother disliked nepotism so much that she refused to attend the university at which her father, the late George John was the head lecturer. John wanted success on her own merit.

Nadia spoke of the many events she enjoyed attending with her mother. It was from those outings that Nadia saw another side of her mom. She was fascinated with her mother’s knowledge about the arts, culture, entertainment and other wider topics. She said John loved the arts in all forms, adding that she was hardworking, generous and multifaceted.

Nadia then gave thanks for the life of her mother and for all John had taught her.

John’s brother, George Anthony John, followed with a recitation of a poem he wrote entitled, Song for Deborah.

Dawn Thomas, CEO, One Caribbean Media Ltd, then sum marised John’s 40-year career at the Trinidad Express Newspapers.

She said: “Deborah carried her designation as Express publication editor, News and Features very proudly, even in her last moments.

“It is said that her sincere love was always features, the side which allowed her to express her creative energies, her informed opinions and knowledge on pan, calypso and mas. Our literature. In fact, all aspects of TT culture.

“Today the Express newsroom is poorer with the loss of Deborah because of those capabilities, exceptional talent, and those finely-tuned journalistic skills which were at her disposal for some 40 years.”

Thomas then quoted excerpts from John’s colleagues, including Wayne Bowman who said, “Deborah was not one to speak ill of people. A gossiper she was not. She was always finding the good in people.”

Sateesh Maharaj said, “She has a listener’s ear and offered sage advice whenever she could. She will follow up on your plight with sincerest sympathy and concern.”

Features writer Verdel Bishop said, “I am pleased to have known Deborah. She was my editor but was also a mother figure to me.”

Taking cue from all that was said of John in recent newspaper articles, in the eulogy and tribute, chief celebrant, Fr Brent Alexis likened John to an emerald.

“She was this rock, this beautiful gem in the midst of all of us,” he said. “TT needs more gems like DJ and more people in our culture like her.”

He ended saying: “Let us pray that God will raise up many other emeralds in this land of ours.”

At the recessional, 3Canal, another of John’s favourite artistes, sang Give Thanks a fitting song to end the celebration for her life.

In attendance were a number of people in the arts and culture.


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