Home News Local news 'Daddy' Friday Laid to Rest

'Daddy' Friday Laid to Rest


Oct. 15, 2005—The Bertha C. Boschulte Junior High School auditorium was packed Saturday — not only with people — but with the tears, laughter, and the memories of thousands of fans gathered to say goodbye to Trevor Nicholas "Nick" "Daddy" Friday.
Not all mourners were attired in suits, ties, or fancy dresses. Many simply wore blue jeans and tee shirts emblazoned with a picture of the well-known, well-loved singer, composer and bandleader accompanied by the words, "We love 'Daddy' Friday."
Some military personnel had Friday's picture ironed onto their fatigues, while others, like the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School's football team, who Friday used to coach, had his name printed onto little purple ribbons which were tied around their upper arms.
The throngs who could not find a seat inside the building gathered at the sides of the road leading up to the school, setting up a tent here and there with speakers playing Friday's music at full volume.
"This is our tribute," James Lewis, Friday's friend and self-proclaimed No.1 fan, said after the funeral. "He did so much for the community, and we want to show our appreciation. To know him really was to love him."
Tribute was paid during the funeral service by Friday's family. While struggling to keep a smile on their faces when talking about Friday, they clearly expressed their devotion to him.
"You were such a loving father, brother, husband. You loved people unconditionally and we loved you back just the same," Dr. Jennifer Friday, Nick Friday's eldest sister said.
Choking back tears, she said, "I know you are a legend, king, an icon among men," adding, "But in my memory, you will always remain our little 'Nicky Boom-Boom'."
Chosen to deliver the eulogy, Friday talked about her brother's place in the community, tying in memories of her own family life with things she had been told about Nick Friday by local residents. She said Nick was a private person at home, but always had a vibrant "alter ego" which presented itself on stage. Friday also spoke of her brother as passionate, not only about music, but about politics as well.

Family and friends carry Nick Friday's coffin out of the BCB auditorium Saturday. Photo by: Ananta Pancham
She said, Nick had the dream of becoming a lawyer, which he pursued "quietly" at the University of the Virgin Islands, and later at Ohio Northern University where he received his law degree.
. "His spirit is so much a part of me," Friday continued. "And I know it is a part of the community here, and around the world as well — it is a spirit, and a song, which will always live on in all of us."
Friday spoke of Nick's position as the leader of the territory's highly popular Jam Band, the role for which he was most famous. "Together they made several albums, won over twenty-something road marches. That's the kind of legacy will never die," Friday said.
"Despite all the sadness of this day, we should celebrate, because Nick lived a life that was full, and accomplished more in a short time than many people do in lifetimes twice as long," she said.
"And Jam Band shouldn't be allowed to die either — I hope those who love him will not let that happen," Rev. Canon Lionel S. Rhymer, officiating minister at the funeral, said. Judging from the standing ovation he received at those words, it seems they won't. Adding some levity Rhymer said, "When you heard Nick's music — Jam Band's music — you just had to get up and move your feet. Even me, with feet of lead."
Rhymer made the audience laugh when he reminisced about Friday's job as an altar boy at St. Luke's Church. "I know you can't imagine that, but he was," Rhymer said. "And he was devoted to the church, too."
Rhymer paid further tribute to Friday calling the singer an "ambassador" for the territory. He said Nick Friday prospered in a world where individuals from the Caribbean do not get "much recognition."
"I've never seen someone as popular as Nick was," Rhymer said. "People felt happy when they were around him, happy when they heard him sing. It's rare to be around, to meet, someone like that. And we're grateful we got the chance to know him."
Rhymer tried to ease the grieving, saying, "I understand many may question why Nick had to be taken so early, with his whole life left in front of him" Rhymer went on, "I know sometimes the pain from this kind of loss may cloud our minds so much that we can't find the right answers. But we must remember there is another plan for all of us—Nick is fulfilling that part of the plan now."
While members of Jam Band did not speak during the service, they did include a message in the funeral program. "We all mourn your passing, but today and forever, we will celebrate your life in music…you were a daddy to all of us."
Band members also carried Friday's coffin to the hearse for burial after the funeral — many of their faces wet and downcast.

Hearse leaving Davis Funeral Home en route to funeral service at BCB Auditorium. Photo by: Jean P. Greaux Jr.
Friday was laid to rest later at the Francis family's private cemetery in Smith Bay.
It was Eddie Francis who arranged for Friday's interment at the family graveyard. Francis was the leader of Eddie and the Movements, the precursor to Jam Band.
Francis was found with former Eddie and the Movements singer Otis Martin leaning against an SUV, parked under a tree, watching the internment a few feet away.
"He has a son by my daughter, so we were as close as family." Francis said. "We wanted to do something too. They asked me about a resting place. I was really glad to accommodate the situation."
Friday's high school classmate Elton Thomas, said, "I'm very touched by what I see here today. I've lived here my whole entire life and I've never seen a funeral that had such an outpouring of love." Thomas went on, "This is the first time I've seen such a large crowd attending a funeral. It really shows the kind of influence Daddy Friday had on this community."
Also present in the crowd of about 300 at the private graveside ceremony was former calypso king St. Clair DeSilva, known as Whadablee, like Friday, a native of Antigua.
"I believe if Jam Band was passing by a cemetery on a good day, a parade day, I believe dead people would get up and start to dance." DeSilva said. "That's the kind of command Friday had on the people."

Editor's Notes: Judi Shimel contributed to this story.
People from across the territory and the globe have written to the Source to express their grief and condolences to Friday's family. You will find those remarks by going to the V.I. Source open forum sections.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here