Ellsworth Christopher (1940-2018)
Respects will be paid today to teacher and sportsman Ellsworth Christopher, who died last week at the age of 78.
Nadine Henry, president of Devonshire Recreation Club, said its former president Mr Christopher was “everything to the club, and Devonshire Rec was everything to him”.
She added: “We feel like we have lost our guardian angel watching over us. If you went over the line, he was there to nudge you back in. He was our safety net.”
Ms Henry said: “The club is planning its own event to honour him further and give recognition for his life of service.”
Friends, family and former students of Mr Christopher will gather today at the Heritage Worship Centre for his funeral service.
Ms Henry said the loss is a major blow to the club where “Mr Christopher basically grew up”.
She added: “There were so many facets to him. He was gentle but firm, and a disciplinarian who was still nurturing.
“He had a genuine concern about all those who entered the grounds of the club.”
Mike Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said Mr Christopher taught at Purvis and Paget primary schools and was an executive member of the union and trustee until recently.
Mr Charles said his former teaching colleague was “thoughtful, soft-spoken and good with kids”.
He added: “He was a great addition to the executive and to any staff who just wanted young people to do well.
“I learnt so much history from him — and his history lessons were personal. He had a great memory and he came up at a time when things were not the same as now.”
Carlton “Pepe” Dill, former national football coach, said he had lost a man who was “a big brother”.
Mr Dill added: “I grew up around Christopher and we spent a lot of time together through the Devonshire Rec era.
“He was one of the most pleasant people you could meet, always happy to give advice or assistance to anybody. The man put his best foot forward at all times.
“As a schoolteacher, he affected all his students in a positive way. Once you made contact with him, it was everlasting.”
Mr Dill said the two played cricket and football together, and as a cricketer Mr Christopher was “the one you turned to”.
He added: “When a batsman got stuck in and we could not dislodge them, or if we were lacking in runs, we called on Christopher.
“As a fielder, his hands were like vacuum cleaners. Nothing was dropped. He was also one of the better card players I have ever come across. He remembered what happened with every card in the deck.”
Mr Dill said: “Our game was at a very, very high level when he was involved as an administrator. He kept the sports associations accountable with good information and good suggestions.”
He added Mr Christopher was “a quiet, unassuming person” — whether it came to his sports accolades or his keen memory for history.
Mr Dill said: “We have lost a great man, as a player and as just an everyday person on the street.
“I have been really upset to lose him. It’s something you could never have anticipated. There is nothing anyone can say about him that is not positive.”
Mr Christopher’s service at 1pm today will be followed by burial at Christ Church cemetery in Devonshire.
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