Eddie Yearwood lived through many death sentences, having been told by doctors on at least four occasions since his childhood that he would soon die. Well, Yearwood made it to just a few months short of his 66th birthday and lived an active life far beyond the expectations of those medical practitioners.
The cultural icon was on Saturday laid to rest following a funeral service at the St Agnes Anglican Church, St James, where members of the cultural fraternity and others came out to say farewell to a man who is said to have touched the lives of thousands.
Yearwood passed away on June 16, after having suffered a massive heart attack the night before. He was born with what is commonly referred to as a hole in the heart and doctors initially told his mother, Elaine Yearwood, that he would only live until he was 12 years old, if that long.
Yearwood's mother refused to accept this and prayed hard that her son would live a long and fruitful life. And that he did being not only a successful sportsman, but also a calypsonian, master of ceremonies, radio talk show host, actor and the father of two of Trinidad's most talented artistes/songwriters/producers, Olatunji and Roland "Rembunction" Yearwood.
Delivering the eulogy was Selina Haynes, who said Yearwood grew up on Church Street in St James and attended the Mucurapo Boys' RC School followed by the Progressive Institute. She said that, in spite of his health challenge, Yearwood was very active and played a number of sports including cricket, football and table tennis in which he represented the island and was a champion. Haynes said Yearwood was in 2006 inducted into the Secondary Schools Sports Hall of fame.
Haynes also said Yearwood joined the Tripoli Steel Orchestra when he was only 13 years old and from there went on to play with, among other steelbands, Starlift, Phase II Pan Groove and Valley Harps. She also spoke of his role in the establishing of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation and the development of Pan Trinbago.
Olatunji Yearwood said his father was a true soldier who never remained down and was also the one who encouraged him the most in everything he set out to achieve. The young soca artiste said that his father would even stand with him whenever he messed up, recounting an incident when he was at Trinity College and got into some mischief that could have led to his expulsion.
"Daddy came to school and sat down with the principal, Mr MacIntosh and sweet talk him out of expelling me. Imagine my father addressing Mr MacIntosh as Louie and saying you know how boys does be. That was Daddy. He was a spontaneous person and he influenced me in how I dress, how I speak and how I just enjoy being me. He was a soldier. Whenever you saw him down, he would be back up again the next time," Yearwood said.
Lifelong friend Ian Mckell announced that a fund named the Eddie Yearwood Medical Fund Foundation would be established for cultural icons in need of medical assistance. The seed for this being monies that had been raised by a committee comprising McKell and others for Yearwood when he was severely ill some years before. McKell mentioned how Yearwood looked out for him back in the days they played tennis together.
Also speaking was 84-year-old Tamer Henry, who said she only met Yearwood in 2010 after having listened to his radio programme for some time. She said when she found out he was hospitalised around then she went to visit him in hospital.
She said at that first visit, Yearwood told nurses she was his grandmother and when he came out of hospital he began to call her every day to make sure she was well. Henry then read a poem she had written in tribute to Yearwood.
Yearwood was known by a number of nicknames throughout his lifetime and for every activity in which he was engaged. In the table tennis arena he was known as Bop. As a member of the Strolling Players theatre group he was the Postman. In the calypso arena he was the Guna and as a master of ceremonies he was Swanky Pops. To some friends Yearwood was known as Twine and to the world at large he was friend.