The coffin being led to its final resting place

Former minister of health John Fabien received on Saturday what’s been described as a very respectful send off for someone who gave his entire working life to the advancement and development of Dominica.

John, who was also a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, a  former parliamentary representative for the Grand Bay constituency and an Environmental Health Specialist, succumbed to his illness at the Princess Margaret Hospital on June 22, 2012.

Hundreds of Dominicans joined his widow Ellen and children Erskine, Trevor, Marvin, Donavan and Sidikatu in paying their last respects at the official funeral service held at the Grand Bay Catholic Church.

Fabien’s close friend Monsignor Eustace Thomas delivered the homily at the funeral service, reflecting on the life of  a man he explained he had “grown to love and respect so much”.

“We became friends, I was at one time his parish priest but our relationship went beyond pastoral activities”.

Monsignor Thomas recalled some of the good times he shared with his friend.

“John and I developed a special bond, real, genuine friendship, and real love. We both enjoyed dumplings and red beans”.

Monsignor Eustace Thomas described the late John Fabien as a man who had a love for God, family and country, a man who touched the lives of hundreds of men women and children.

“Apart from his professional career he was a real community man who cared about his community and people. John impacted because he loved and because he was a committed person, ” the cleric said while encouraging others to emulate the life and principles of John Fabien.

“Live my dear friends as a family, John lived a good life, he fell short like all of us but everyone can say that John tried his best to have a good family life. How many of you in Government are praying like John? How many of you like John go to church often? Emulate him”.

He urged the ministers of government attending the funeral service to take a leaf from the page of John Fabien.

“Don’t just talk about the next level, act the next level, be people of prayer and trust totally in the Lord. Let us emulate the wisdom of John who knew he was about to leave this world but prepared himself spiritually”.

Monsignor Thomas used the occasion to deliver a special message from the late John Fabien to the youth to stay away from drugs.

“Young people John wants you to brace up yourselves, give up and destroy dangerous weapons, avoid bad companions, say no to drugs.  Don’t destroy the nation for selfish motives, that’s what John wants”.

At the funeral service a special tribute in song (Wind Beneath My Wings) for the former minister and MP was presented by family members.

Following the funeral service John Fabien was laid to rest at the Grand Bay Catholic Cemetery next to his friend Pierre Charles.

Interior of the church during the funeral ceremony

Mourners at the funeral