"Strength of character" was the central theme as family, friends and officials gathered at the Seafarer's Hall this week to celebrate Mr. Urban Myles' 100th birthday.
Attending the function with wife Marie-Beatrice, His Excellency the Governor Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE used the phrase to describe Mr. Myles and others of his generation.
Referring particularly to Cayman's seamen and military veterans, Mr. Taylor lauded some of their characteristic values, including respect, neighbourliness and commitment to hard work.
He noted that Cayman still esteems its older persons, in spite of "Society's value of the experience and knowledge of its elders having been soundly eroded in the western hemisphere during recent years."
Mr. Myles was born before World War I, when Cayman's population was a mere 5,000 people. In 1941 after years of sea turtling, he enlisted on the Admiralty tanker Bishopdale as second cook and baker. He thereafter added decades of service in both the Royal Navy and merchant marines.
Joining Mr. Myles for his milestone celebration were his children, grand-, great-grand- and great-great-grandchildren. Also present were Premier the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE; Minister Mike Adam, MBE; Opposition Leader Kurt Tibbetts; and George Town MLA Alden McLaughlin.
A contingent of Cayman Islands Veterans Association (CIVA) members also attended. President Hartman DaCosta was on hand with other seafarer retirees to present a trophy and words of congratulations.
CIVA member Graham Walker commented, "As sailors know, next to the captain, the most important person on a ship is the cook. A good cook means a happy ship, and from what I gather, Mr. Myles was both a good cook and steward." In fact the centenarian once received a letter of commendation from the British Admiralty for his culinary services.
Another guest, the Rev. Dave Hazel commented on Mr. Myles' positive spirit: "He really looked forward to today," he said.
The Governor agreed: "One hundred-not-out is certainly a pretty good innings and I hope to deliver a congratulatory letter from Queen Elizabeth II in the coming days," he concluded.
For further information contact: Lennon Christian