Obituary: Sir Jack Dear

Jack Dear was one of Barbados's best-known, best liked, most respected citizens; and in one sense certainly its most prominent.

Educated at Harrison College, Barbados and Pembroke College, Cambridge, Dear was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, in 1947, and admitted to practice in Barbados a year later. He became a powerful advocate - West Indian oratory powered by a shrewd legal brain. His services were much sought after - once, to his pleasure, by the so-called Anguillan rebels, when Britain's Gilbertian invasion of that island raised spectres of treason trials, at the very least. There weren't any, of course; but he would have greatly relished the chance.

Politically he was a major force behind the Barbados Labour Party, and served as a senator from 1964 to 1966. His standing in the legal profession was such that in 1968 he became the first President of the Organisation of Commonwealth Bar Associations.

He was deeply involved in all aspects of Barbadian life - a man of great generosity (the Museum and the National Trust of Barbados owe much to his support), a crusader for racial harmony, and the most loyal of friends, of whom there were untold numbers. For he was above all a jolly man, raconteur, wit, avid reader, excellent company. His knighthood in 1996, for his contribution to the development of the legal profession and charitable causes, was universally applauded.

But that was not all. Jack Dear had another, very personal, claim to local fame. He came from a family of renowned trenchermen, but became the mightiest eater of them all.

In his prime - fit, athletic - he challenged one Mango, a famed eater of Trinidad, to a contest involving eating, twice, a six-course dinner. Mango gave up after nine courses; Jack ate all twelve, and then - so it is said - gobbled up Mango's last three. Gargantua, incarnate in the Caribbean.

Sadly, he never overcame his addiction to food. His increasingly vast bulk became less and less mobile; unsurprisingly his health deteriorated in tandem, until he could barely stand in court, nor occupy other than an extremely outsize chair. Yet to the end he remained himself: cheerful, gregarious, uncomplaining - and still hungry.

Rabelais represented Gargantua as "a mighty eater . . . as befits a giant, but also as a studious, athletic, good- humoured and peace-loving prince". There you have it: Jack Dear to the life.

John Stanley Bruce Dear, lawyer and politician: born St Lucia 18 July 1925; Called to the Bar, Middle Temple 1947; QC 1963; Senator, Barbados 1964-66; First President, Organisation of Commonwealth Bar Associations 1968; CHB 1981; KCMG 1996; married 1949 Jeanne Rawlins (one son, two daughters); died Bridgetown, Barbados 2 April 1997.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent