Celvyn Nathaniel was born in Fairview, Christ Church on December 12, 1948, to Lenora and Vernon Brathwaite. He was their youngest son. Celvyn was a hard worker and very family oriented from an early age and decided to forego his formal educational pursuits to support his family. He worked alongside his parents during the crop season in various plantations around the Fairview neighborhood. Nevertheless, Celvyn nurtured his educational desires by being an avid reader. Ultimately, he decided to apply and enroll in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), where he served as a Ricks Server in the Bridgetown area and a constable at various stations across the island. During the 21 years he spent in the RBPF, he met his dearly beloved wife Marlene Anita Bishop while serving as the officer in the A&E Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Marlene’s sisters Yvette and Pat noted how smitten she seemed to be with Celvyn and often joked that it must have been the dark uniform that particular night.
After several years of courting, Celvyn and Marlene were united in matrimony in July, 1976. From their union, came two children, Ryan, and Lisa. Celvyn worked tirelessly against innumerable odds to provide for the family and Marlene was right by his side. They worked for years as small farmers, supplying produce to local supermarket chain Budg-Buy. While this was profession called for intense physical labor, it allowed Celvyn and Marlene to spend significant amounts of time together. Truthfully, if you saw Celvyn, you knew Marlene was nearby and vice versa. They maintained a home filled with faith in God, love, laughter, structure and high expectations. They instilled the importance of education and made every conceivable effort to ensure their children had access to these opportunities.
To say that this was the extent of Celvyn’s life would be a tremendous disservice to a man who was community minded. Celvyn took great pride in being a son, and a product of Fairview, so much so, that he began and raised his family where his own “navel string was buried,” surrounded by countless extended family members and good friends. He was proud of his village and would do anything he could to assist anyone in need. In fact, he would often share the produce from his garden with neighbors, church members and friends far and wide. He had great expectations for anyone from his district, and often encouraged young and old alike to hang in their and keep up the fight amidst all odds.
Celvyn, who had a bold harmonious voice, was baptized in 2001 and began dedicated service to Jesus. He was always eager to read the Bible and listen to sermons. In many a trying day when his faith was tested, he rested on the assurance that Jesus held his future. If he were here today, we are certain that he would encourage you to put your trust in Jesus because He will never fail you.
If you knew Celvyn – whether you called him Braff, Big Braff, Tugga, Tukka, 111 or any other variation of these names, you knew that he cared and respected everyone. While he was strong in his convictions, he was careful never to be disrespectful. He was honest, loyal, hardworking, protective, proud yet humble, and most of all grateful for the many blessings God bestowed on him. He treasured his family and friends and was always on the side of what was right and just.
Whether he had plenty or little, he always sought ways to share with others. Ryan and Lisa are so grateful to have been blessed with such fine examples of strong Christian parents, a loving marriage, and a healthy home. Celvyn and indeed Marlene’s legacy also lives on in their grandchildren, Aden and Kyle who affectionately knew Celvyn as Papa, the kind soul who would spoil them and constantly shower them with love, reminding them of how proud he is of them. Would you imagine the man who was a strict disciplinarian, became more of a gentle giant once he received the title Papa.
While we know that Celvyn has departed this earthly realm far too soon, we take comfort in knowing that he is safe in the arms of Jesus and reunited with his love, Marlene Anita. May the impact that he had on your lives never be forgotten and would you consider playing that same role for someone you know. In so doing, you give praise to God for Celvyn’s life, keep his legacy alive and make lasting impacts on those you come into contact with along your individual journeys.
Dad – we love you dearly, will miss you always, but will never forget you. Thank you for all your love and sacrifices. They were not in vain.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory on the last day. Amen.
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