"Poor man's lawyer": Theodore Guerra

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Tears, laughter for Teddy Guerra

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

Those who turned up yesterday to pay their last respects to Theodore Roosevelt Guerra SC found themselves chuckling between tears as they remembered the man who was revered and respected by many.

Lawyer and politician Guerra died last Friday at the age of 80 from colon cancer.

Attorney Pamela Elder SC, during her delivery of the eulogy at the overcrowded Santa Cruz Roman Catholic Church, described Guerra as a gentleman who treated all with courtesy and respect.

"The people's choice and the poor man's lawyer," who was so brilliant in the courtroom that it didn't matter what side of the courtroom he was on—either defending or prosecuting he always came out on top.

Elder said Guerra was a happy warrior who contributed to the development of individuals as well as the community he lived in.

She spoke about his dedication, hard work and compassion, as well as his excellent representation of clients whether they were those who paid or those who he represented for free.

"TR was a happy warrior, many attorneys tried to unsuccessfully emulate his style but he was indomitable TR," Elder said.

Sheldon Guerra, who paid tribute to his father's life and his relationship with his ten children, said he freely gave of his time and that his father's hands told the truth of who he was—he loved the land.

"The land became his peace and sanctuary," he said, speaking of his passion for gardening, growing both flowers and vegetables.

The younger Guerra described his father as "a humble man" who did nothing outside of excellence and asked that his children do the same.

"He was not a man of half-measures, it was all or nothing. He did not require us to be doctors or lawyers, but whatever our trade was, do it with excellence," he said.

Fr Clyde Harvey, who did the homily, said he knew Guerra and he had sought inner peace as far back as two years ago as he struggled to become the person who he believed he needed to be before leaving this world.

"Guerra sowed seeds in the hearts and minds of many and the turn-out here today shows the gratitude that people have for not what he did for them but who he was."

Harvey also lamented the small turn-out of young lawyers at Guerra's funeral and said special prayers for the young lawyers of this country, that they would follow in Guerra's footsteps and be honourable professionals as he was.

"Young men and women who would have ambition to do good for no other reason than for the sake of doing good. That they would seek to be vanguards even as those of Teddy's generation who were vanguards for jurisprudency to help the legal profession in Trinidad and Tobago..." Harvey prayed.

Among those present at Guerra's funeral were Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and many calypsonians and members of the pan fraternity who paid tribute to him in song.

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