Glowing tributes were paid to veteran masman Brian “Tico” Skinner during his funeral at St Theresa’s RC Church, Malick, yesterday.
Rudolph “Pinky” Skinner said his brother was his loving and everlasting brother, but his smiling face is gone from the family. “His cheerful and pleasant demeanour won the hearts of everyone that came into his domain and beyond,” he said
After Hernandez Pre-School, Barataria EC and the Progressive Educational Institute, Tico worked at the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, then was transferred to Namdevco to manage the wholesale fish market until he retired
Skinner said his brother was also an avid horse-racing fan and also employed in the computing department of the TT Turf Club. As he was in contact with jockeys Lester Piggott and Scobie Breasley, tips he got were readily shared with friends.
Skinner also tried cricket and football, but was no superstar, said his brother. But being very quick and fast, he tried athletics. However, after being beaten by an aged veteran in the 100-metre dash, that was the culmination of his stint in athletics, Rudolph Skinner said.
Skinner then decided he would do something he was good at and became a sagaboy, but even with that came a lot of pressure, which he handled well, and so became a Casanova who broke many hearts along the way. The congregation laughed. Rudolph said his brother was a great family man.
“He took pride and satisfaction in his role as father. He was clearly devoted to his offspring.” He also said Tico did things in a meticulous way, whether it was cleaning, cooking or ironing. “He had an exceptional gifted hand.” He said Skinner was respectful to everyone, “a generous man who would assist anyone without fanfare. Always very willing to help.
“We have lost a son of the soil. (But) even though he has left us, his love and passion for life which he so freely and happily shared with us was evident in his cultural presentations. His invaluable contributions to the Carnival fraternity will forever shine.”
Rudolph Skinner said during the 33 years his brother brought mas, his extraordinary, consistent portrayals in humour and current political happenings always kept people at the edge of their seats, wanting more. He closed by saying living a life without Tico was the hardest reality.
“You died as you lived, as everyone’s friend. Now go fly with the angels.” Archibald Thompson spoke of his last visit to his friend.
He said: “There was no sign of agitation, depression or confusion of mind. There was no self-pity. He chose instead to speak of life and death. He embraced the good he had done. He was a man in touch with his God and at peace with himself. As I was leaving he said, ‘Archie, death holds no terror for me.’”
Thompson said MP Fitzgerald Hinds was scheduled to finish the tribute. “But I’m told one of Tico’s favourite presentations was Hell in Parliament, and apparently there is hell in Parliament again, so Hinds could not be here to complete this eulogy.” After the tributes, champion arranger and pannist Duvone Stewart played a moving version of Sparrow’s Memories.