It’s almost impossible to think of Kent Pemberton without a smile coming to your face.
Pembo, as we affectionately called him, breathed life into any room that he entered. He was never perturbed by the moods or attitudes of those around him. He never allowed anyone to dampen his spirits.
Pembo had a way of dissipating any, awkward situation with his jokes and comedic antics. You may have made up your mind to be sullen and serious for a day, and you would succeed, until Pembo found you! Your frown was no match for Pembo! He could always coax a smile or a laugh from you.
Oprah said recently that we all have to be aware of the energy that we bring into a situation, being careful to always leave people better than we met them. Pembo may have never heard that quote, but he lived those words each and every day.
All of us who were blessed to be considered his friends can attest that one of his favourite quotes was “I only have one life to live you know, I going to enjoy it.” And enjoy it he did. Pembo was not content in enjoying it himself. No, he made sure that his friends enjoyed their lives with him too.
Pembo loved having a good time, whether it was taking a friend for a spontaneous ride out for ice-cream, or having spirited philosophical discussions over a drink. He was always willing to volunteer his ‘bachelor pad’ for our weekend get together. He was an extremely gracious and meticulous host being sure that the lighting and music set the mood for a good time.
After making sure we all had drinks, he would put his apron back on and continue cooking. Pembo was a beast in the kitchen. There was no moping at Pembo’s. Oh no, if things seemed to lag, Pembo would shed his apron and put on his dancing shoes, and pretty soon everyone is laughing and the good times don’t stop until we say goodbye.
As an educator , Pembo was dedicated and passionate. Anyone who saw him teach knew that he loved anything to do with vehicles. More importantly he was passionate about his students. He was not concerned with the politics of the education system, “L’ecole pas l’ajole, ou sav” he would often say.
His concern was for the holistic development of his charges. His job did not stop at the classroom door. He kept his eye out for a student who was hungry; he extended his hand to students in need. He always had an encouraging word for a student who was distressed. His Christian love was not limited to the students. His colleagues were in the receiving end of his generosity. If he knew our need, he would find a way to meet it. Many of us can remember his delicious broths on a late afternoon or his hearty breakfasts and rich cocoa tea in the morning.
His heart was in the school and he was one of the loudest cheer leaders of the children. He took great pleasure in the accomplishment of the students. He made himself available for extra-curricular activities, especially to our schools dance group, coming to events and yelling out to encourage from the audience. At school events, he was always willing to entertain us with his smooth dance moves and was always the life of the party. Needless to say, the loss of Pembo has left a huge void in our school body. His shoes are impossible to fill.
It is said, that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. I’m certain I am not the only one who’s love and appreciation for Kent has tripled since he left this life. While we do shed tears, we cannot help but smile when we remember his life. Every single one of us has a pleasant memory of him. So while we weep because he has left us physically, we can smile at the many days that he brightened our days.
This is an opportunity for us to keep Pembo’s spirit alive. Let us not weep empty tears but let his life inspire our actions. Let us lend a helping hand to those in need. Let us have a loving word for everyone we meet. Let us have a smile for everyone we greet. Let us live our life to the fullest. Let us make a decision to bring positive energy to the world, and let us promise to leave others better than we met them. As we say farewell to our dear friends and pay our respects, let us not focus on the way that he died but let us always remember the loving and fruitful way that he lived.
We love you Pembo, may your soul rest in peace.
NOTE: Eustace Kent Pemberton, an auto mechanics teacher of the Pierre Charles Secondary School, died of injuries sustained in an accident in which his bike collided with a truck on the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard (Bayfront) in Roseau on May 18, 2011.
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