James Catalyn wishes were
these: At the memorial service there will be no choir singing,
no sermon, no tributes or condolences. Hence, this page is the
only avenue where your tributes or
condolences will be placed
and cherished by the family.
Sunday, August 26, 2018 08:51 AM
Carolina: Uncle James was the best uncle ever.
He took time out of his busy schedule to attend my
wedding in Jamaica. He will be dearly missed by me and
my three sons, Donovan, Jonathan and Adam Edwards. The
perfect example of unconditional love.
"The greatest uncle in the world."
I will forever remember uncle James as the one who
brought our family together at Christmas time. I have
many fond memories of our time together with him. And
who can throw down like Uncle James in the kitchen?! He
was also our "Santa Clause" as children, something I'll
never forget. Uncle James, you will be sorely missed.
We loved, we laughed and we cried together. Uncle James,
this is so hard on me! I haven't slept or eaten since
Friday. I keep replaying everything you said to me
Saturday morning as I dressed you. I refused to accept
that was the final time I would hear you tell me that
you loved me and me saying I love you! The final time I
would hear you say how proud you were of me and the
instructions you were giving me about the show. I know
you are in a better place but my heart doesn't know how
to let you rest! You left and I can still hear your
voice and your laughter and it breaks my heart that I
will never get to kiss you on your forehead again or
hear you call me Kimmie or lovie. You said "Don't be
afraid, it's ok, you're ok", I didn't want to hear that.
I love you Uncle James, I truly miss you!! It is selfish
of me not to let go and I am trying so hard. Sleep well
Uncle J . Sleep well!
Uncle James, you taught me to have pride in my
heritage. You taught me the passion of art and most
importantly, humor. I'll miss you.
"Keep a smile on your face anda song in your heart" is
what you'd always say to me and that will stick with me
always! Love you so much! I'll always
your "miss ting."
I had the privilege to call you uncle and loved the
years that I had you. You mad an impact on everyone you
met and was loved beyond limits. It was sad to hear the
you went to sleep, I wished I was able to spend a day
with you, but I will forever remember the sweet memories
that we shared. Sleep in perfect peace
BRENNEN: They say I look like my uncle. Uncle
James was special in the Catalyn/Brennen families.
The little children cannot forget the years of
gift-giving during Christmas time. Every small
child in the family got a gift from Uncle James.
He began Christmas shopping in August and sometimes
right after Christmas. He began making his
Christmas fruit cakes and other cakes in October or so.
He was a good cook. The family spent Christmas
with Uncle James for the past 60 plus years. He
provided all the meals (except for the vegetarians)
until five years ago when he said it is time for the
young people to take over. So we started having
the Christmas family potluck.
KEITH ANSON ALBURY:
I will miss you dear uncle. But the memory of you
will make me #laughagain #laughingatweself
My Uncle lived a wonderful life building our nation
through culture, laughter and his wonderful poems.
Uncle, you are at peace
ZNS News Video
CAMILLE L. SMITH: James Catalyn was a giant
of a Bahamian icon. He gave our country a consistent,
bountiful, multifaceted assortment of contributions. RIP
James Catalyn. Wow, another loss of a very seasoned
citizen. He will be missed indeed. My condolences to his
family and all who loved him.
GRACE, AGATHA, BEVERLY AND ERNESTINE SHERMAN, YVONNE
BULLARD, AUDREY AND GARLAND DEAN:
On Saturday The Bahamas lost a National Hero, "A TRUE
TRUE BAHAMIAN" The Sherman family lost a brother,
I don't know when it happened, but James was no longer a
friend he became Netta's son and our brother.
We will miss the laughter, the calls, the cakes and
cookies. We will never forget you James.
Say, "Hello" to Netta. May God enfold you in
His arms forever.
K. E. COLLIE: I met Mr. Catalyn several
times in my capacity as an English teacher. I was always
impressed by his willingness to express his particular
views about Bahamian culture in general and about
Bahamian language in particular. His personal pride in
our spoken language and unwillingness to give it second
place behind the “Queen’s English” or “Standard English”
had a particularly powerful impact on me as a teacher
and as a Bahamian citizen. As an educator, I therefore
encourage my students to respect our language and to use
it appropriately and equally with Standard English.
I also had occasion over the years to enjoy several
performances by James Catalyn and Friends. I
particularly remember that ZNS broadcasted “Laughing at
Weself” during the 1980s. Mr. Catalyn did not, as far as
I know, receive remuneration from those broadcasts, but
his willingness to share in that way enriched the lives
of thousands of young Bahamians like me whose experience
of the theatre was at that time limited to church
programs and the occasional school play. He brought
Bahamian life and culture to the stage in ways that not
only made us laugh, but also stimulated self-evaluation.
Later, Mr. Catalyn became a valued part of my adult
experience as a theatre goer, and his productions
continued to enrich my life over the ensuing years.
Mr. Catalyn will be missed.
GETA WILLIAMS: Thank you for helping us to
accept ourselves and be proud of who we are, with all
our faults and shortcomings and indeed with all our
amazing traits, talents and abilities. You made me proud
to be Bahamian!! Rest in peace my brother! A
humble public school teacher.
LAWSON MAPP, Bermuda:
I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of my
good friend James, I met him on my very first trip to
your lovely Islands during the seventies in fact I
resided with him last year during my brief holiday in
Nassau. James made a great contribution to the
country of his birth in Theater, Tourism and in fact
for his efforts was recognized by Her Majesty the Queen
with an OBE. On behalf of my fellow Bermudians and
myself I offer my sincere condolences to his family and
friends. Lawson E Mapp, Mayor of Hamilton, Bermuda
HENRY LEE GIVENS,
Florida: I was very sorry to hear of James's death.
We will miss him very much. James was a kind person you
could depend on for a smile, for a humorous "lighten up,
guys" when we needed it most, for doing more than his
share, and more.
MARVA RUSSELL MINNIS:
Condolences to the family and friends of the late Mr.
James Catalyn. I appreciated Mr. Catalyn for his
stance in theatre etiquette. May his work
DR. KIRK LOPEZ:
Thank you for leaving the Bahamas a much more culturally
enriched community than you met it and for showing us
how it should be done in that regard. Sleep in peace
To know James was to LOVE 💙 him.... he will most
definitely be missed! Rest on James, take your
well-deserved rest. Rise to Glory Mr.Catalyn .... you
lived YOUR life!!
Giving thanks for the life of the “julcat” ...The great
James Julius Catalyn! We remember your immense
contribution to all things Bahamian and I’m glad to be
part of the adopted family who laughed loudest at
Lampost #8 or on the comfortable Peardale Patio. Deepest
condolences to the Catalyn, Catalano and Major
families... Rest In Power Sir! We still “laffin at we
MORRIS: I knew and did not know James Catalyn:
I was introduced to his literary works as a school boy,
though I met him only once in person. His
precision and refinement was so admirable, that I
wondered to myself what sort of country we would become
if we followed his example. James Catalyn leaves a
sense of pride and a clear path for excellence; a path
which he lived and we only need follow.
He was the master of things Bahamian, marvellous and
This is a rough week on me. Two luminaries I
lived and respected well have made their transition
within two days of each other. I met Aretha
Franklin when I was an editor with Jet Magazine and we
became treasured friends. I knew Jim
all my life but we became close friends when we Sir
Lynden Pindling invited a group of young Bahamians to
Bahamianize the Ministry of Tourism. We did. One day we
saw the Miniatry's advertising agency producing a
commercial in Rawson Square. We were looking out
the window and I said: " Jim, ain't no Black people in
the commercial", whereupon, he Louis Bowe, Jeanette
Thompson and I went to the agency head and told him that
wasn't happening that day. They went to Sir Lynden on us
and when he heard the report, told them to find some
Black people. That was Jim. Forceful in a
polite way and deeply committed to all things Bahamian.
Jim was the first to put the Bahamian dialect in drama
and poetry. He made it acceptable and appreciated.
Later Jim headed the Bahamas Tourist in Chicago,
by which time I was an Editor at Johnsons Publishig. We
had bean and rice once a week and he joined me at many
VIP functions at Johnsons. He attended the opening of
Johnsons new multi-million dollar building.
If visitors to #20 Bar Twenty Corner notice that nice
lawn, I liberated that grass from the Rock Sound Club in
1968. I almost forgot, James was best man at
my first wedding. Rest in peace Jim. You
made a difference in how we saw ourselves.
QUEEN KIANA: James, I may have joined late but you
still welcomed me into your family. You gave me a chance
and taught me new things. You even showed me that in old
age it is ok to "laugh at we self" I will never forget
your laugh. Humans might not live forever but our work
that we leave behind does. I will tell you know, Mr
james Catalyn your work will continue on for as long as
humans inhabit the earth. May you rest in eternal peace.
No more suffering or pain for you. You are loved.
Thank you for adopting me into your certified crazy
people and your family.
New York: Thanks. We must meet. The link is
so long, strong and loving. Though you may not know me I
know you well. This morning I cry in remembering the
Catlyns. Your grandmother, your mother Mary.
Uncles, Abel and Peter.
My sister Cypri, made a brief 24 hr visit from NC. We
had not seen each other for 3 years. James expired while
we were together. He made this reunion so very special.
Vibes were steering me to my mobile, but I returned it
to my purse each time. KARMA ?
We talked about Sammy Sands. Oh! the
closeness of us Out East Original PONDITES. These
departures sound a sweet neighbor hood rhythm to James
and each of us. I will share this with my sister when
she is safely off the road. This will be painful to her.
Requiescat in Pace James, & May the PEACE of the LORD be
to you Barry and your household. Lovingly,
Jerona Smith Babb.
It is with a sense of profound sadness that I pay
homage to one of The Bahamas’ greatest creative genius.
His ability to create an avenue to bring the creative
juices of the average Joe and Jane to make people laugh
is completely ingenious. “Speak Bahamian and only
use English when necessary” will continue to be his
legacy. A friend to all and a lover of tings
Bahamian, a giant of a man.
My deepest condolences. James Catalan will be sorely
missed. His literary and dramatic works will forever be
a part of Bahamian cultural patrimony. May he Rest In
This is a shocker to me. The tears just keep coming. I
will not be long with this post by your request. No long
talk, singing or tribute.
But this is a must
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to
utilize one of my gifts in performance. You entrusted me
with your baby ( the box office). I am was honored and
privilege to have worked closely with you. The short
time we shared and laughed. The wisdom and knowledge you
shared with me are all embedded in my heart. Thank you
so much Sir.
I am forever grateful.
The time we spent together will be cherish memories.
My condolences to your son Radon, the immediate and my
JCF family. May God give us peace and comfort during
this painful time.
You did it your way.
Take your rest "Sir James J. Catalyn Esq."
JAN McCANTS MILLER:
I am in shock and tears...James Catalyn, now upon
reflection, I recall all your posts during these last 2
weeks, were you saying goodbye to us? You were among the
first I met when I arrived in Nassau in 1985. I met you
through my late husband, Roston Miller during your
rehearsal with the Rotary Club of West Nassau for their
annual Night of Christmas Music Show. You were funny,
friendly, and above all else, you welcomed me to Nassau
with open arms in your best Bahamian dialect. We have
stayed in touch through FB since my return home to
Delaware. I am not prepared for your sudden departure
because all I was looking forward to was getting
together with you during my next visit to Nassau. James
you are missed already. I’m going to miss your FB posts,
I’m going to miss your witty sense of humor, I’m gonna
miss your telling it like it is, I’m gonna miss You.
Rest in Paradise my Friend and thank you for taking the
time to chide us into loving ourselves and others more.
You are missed. Nassau has lost another great icon.
THOMPSON-CURLING: Your life James was a true
representation of a dedicated, committed Bahamian who
loved this country above every thing else. Your charm,
your wit, your endurance and your interaction with
persons from whatever sphere in life will be missed.
What an honor it has been to have met, known and been in
the presence of such great Bahamian genius. My passion
for performing arts became even stronger for having a
mentor, teacher and friend such as James J. Catalyn.
I've learned countless skills from James, among them the
importance of organization, punctuality and the
preservation of the Bahamian spirit. Thank you for
allowing this eager thespian an opportunity to grace the
stage for some of her first favorite performances and a
place in your company James, 'JCF' - the longest running
Bahamian Theatre troupe. I will treasure every example
that James has been to me and the entire 'JCF' family,
for the rest of my life. May he Rest In Peace.
"Lay down dear bother lay down and take your rest. Lay
your head upon the savior's breast. I love you but Jesus
loves you best. I bid you goodnight, goodnight,
goodnight"! James Julius Catalyn I will see you on the
other side. Until then we will continue to "laugh at
James' work brought
together a lot of people and created a family around him
that extended several generations. I appreciated
the hard work he put into every production, his skillful
planning and the attention to detail. My deepest
sympathy to all the many people who call James J.
James Catalyn, you adopted
me late in my life and I am all the richer for having
been touched by you !!! Your backyard will always be one
of my my favorite places !!!!!
RAHMING: Death is ugly and painful and often
it breaks our hearts in two. I truly look forward to the
time when this pain occurrence will be no more. On
behalf of my family and I please accept sincerest
condolences as you grieve the passing of this cultural
icon. Special prayers ascend for the Catalyn family,
Pastor Barrington Brennen, Judith, Claudia,Ann Albury
and their families. Blessings!
CULTURAL ICON, LEGEND AND WARRIOR
BY THE HON. LANISHA ROLLE
MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORTS AND CULTURE
Bahamian cultural, legend, icon and warrior James Julius
Catalyn passed away on Saturday August 18, 2018. He was 78
James Julius Catalyn was born on January 6th, 1940 in the
Pond of East Shirley Street near to St. Matthews Parish to
the late Theresa Elizabeth Major formerly of Roses Long
Island. James received his education at the Sands School,
the Worrell School and Eastern Senior School where he
graduated in 1956. He began writing poetry and plays at the
age of 16 years. His first major play was written in 1970,
which he named ‘Courtship’. He also wrote the ‘Best Dressed
Man’, which he performed with Noel Hamilton at the Cabaret
Theater. This play left a lasting impact upon the Bahamian
In August of 1968 he traveled with the National Dance School
and Mrs. Shirley Hall Bass where he got his first
international performance in a play called L’il Abner in
Chicago, Illinois. They performed at the Harper’s Court
Mr. Catalyn was a playwright, actor, adjudicator, poet,
producer, director and satirist among other things. He
studied drama under the tutelage of the late Meta Davis
Cumberbatch and the late B.E.A. Saunders. He also studied at
the University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department,
The Sammy Dyer School of Theatre and Stage One, both in
Mr. Catalyn wrote political and social drama and poetry and
used his writings to preserve the Bahamian dialect, which he
termed ‘Bahamianese’. He founded James Catalyn and Friends
in 1979 and was immediately invited by ZNS to perform on a
ZNS TV 13 weekly series. Mr. Catalyn’s group traveled
extensively both locally and internationally promoting
Bahamian culture through his skits, plays and poetry.
Every year in June and September he performed two major
productions at the Dundas Center for the Performing Arts.
His September revue “Summer Madness” is well-established on
the Bahamas’ Cultural Calendar.
James was employed at the Ministry of Tourism for 32 years
until he retired in 2000. He is considered to be one of the
pillars of the Tourism industry. He has served as
coordinator of the International Cultural Festival, and the
adjudicator for the drama segment of the E. Clement Bethel
National Arts Festival for many years.
Mr. Catalyn has had his finger on the pulse of Bahamian
culture for decades writing about the uniqueness of who we
are. He received his OBE in the Queen’s 2016 New Year’s
On behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, the Ministry of
Youth, Sports and Culture and indeed the people of The
Bahamas we offer our sincere condolences to his family,
relatives, friends and many fans.
May his soul rest in peace.
PERSONS WHO SENT CONDOLENCES
Albertha Smith Gainza
Alice Innis and Family
Allardyce Smitha and Family
Allison Mortimer (MOT)
Andrea P. Munnings and Family
Andrea Saunders and Family
Angela L. Carroll
Angela Tynes and Family
Arlene Hercules and Family
Barbara Hanna Cox
Barrington and Annick Brennen
Basil and Cheryl Albury
Bermice Moxey Adderley
Bernadette Knowles-Saunders (MOT)
Beverley Adderley and Family
Beverley and Shelly Archer
Bishop Moss and Family
Bridgette Rahming (MOT)
C. Andrew Humes
C. J. Bostwick (Mr. & Mrs.)
Canon S. Sabastian Campbell
Charity Armbrister (MOT/Pondite)
Chigozie Igeoma (JFC)
Conrad Maycock and Family
Cynthia Louise Rahming
Cyprianna and Sean McWweeney
David Rosemae Bain and Family
Deangelo Catalano (Grand nephew)
Delores Archer and Family
Denny and Debbie Wilson
Dereck and Tracy Catalano
Dion Miller and Family
Dr. Derryck Richardson
Dr. Harold Munnings
Dr. Herbert Orlander
Dwain Wallace and Family
Dwight and Flora Sawyer
Edwardo and Fredricka Jimeneza
Eldridge McPhee (Belcanto Singers)
Eric Adderley (JCF)
Eric Rose and Family
Erica and Marvin Laing
Erica Fox-Lightbourne and Family
Family of the Outreach Center
Florence Rahming and Family
Garland and Audrey Dean
George and Bonwith Ferguson
Gerogina Delancy (MOT)
Gladston Adderley and Family
Glenda B. A. Roberts and Family
Gloria Longley-Rolle (JCF)
Godfrey Archer and Family
Grace Johnson Friend
Graham B. Thordarson
Inderia Green (JCF Family)
Iris, Happy, Dario and Dilla Knowles and Family
Jakes and Billie Godet
Janet and John Bostwich
Jerry and Family
John Johnson and Family
Juliana Candace Bostwich
K. S. Murry
Karla F. Knowles
Kayla Green and Family
Keith and Katura Bryan and Family
Kid James Tynes
L. M. Bowe
L.M. Bowe II
La Gloria Davis
Lanentine Maura (JCF)
Lechante Anthony Wright (JCF)
Leslie and Paul Bowleg and Family
Lloyd Wong (JCF)
Lowell J. Mortimer
Marcia Sands (Samaritan’s Ministry)
Margaret Smith Brown and Family
Mariam Bowe and Family
Mark and Charity Francis
Meneria Burrow and Family
Mitz and Robert Barnett
Neil Cleare (JCF)
Nina B. V. Roberts and Family
Norma B. Rolle
Owen Bethel and Family
Owen T. Rolle and Family
P. Scot Adderley
Pamala Knowles and Family
Pamela Pratt (AIDS Foundation)
Pastor Danhugh Gordon
Pastor Joan Sweeting
Pastor Mark Ewen and Family
Pastor Wilfred and Sheila Adderley and Family
Patrice Astwood McDonald
Patricia A Clarke
Patrick Hugh and Family
Peter and Kate Bates
Phyllis Albury Garraway
Piscilla Williams and Family
R. Andrew Barnett
Rachel and Leslie Rolle
Reginald Rigby and Family
Rev and Mrs. Charles Lewis
Richard Adderley and Family
Robert and Eleanor Elliott
Ron and Isabella
Ron Overend (Mr. and Mrs.)
Rossie and Billy Godget
Ruth M. Williams (MOT)
Ruthiemae Rolle and Family
Sharon A. M. Cleare
Sherika Burrows (JCF)
Shirley McDonald Brennen
Shornelle Nesbitt (JFC) and Family
Sir Balton Bethel
Sister Cecilia Albury (OSB)
Sister Clara Rolle
Sister Marva Coakley and Sisters
Sister Mary Bernedit Pratt
Sonia Cox Hamilton
Stephanie Rolle and Family (Bimini)
The Archer Family of Shirley Street
Thomas A. D. Grant
Tony Thompson and Family
V. Tron McPhee
Vaeria Lynes and Family
Vannessa Scott and Family
Veronica Toppin (JCF)
Wendy Patricia Morley
Yolando Bain and Family
Yvonne Sherman Bulla
THIS IS MY DAY
james j. catalyn © aug. 1985
Weep silently for me, no mournful
No unnecessary and useless screams
You loved me living, did you fail
To tell me
You shared my dreams
Speak not o'er me as here I lay
I cannot hear your false lament
I lived, t'was then you should've had your say
Not when my life is spent.
You cared not then, did not sing
You tore me to the core
I care not now, I'm in God's grace
He loves me even more.
To thine own self, reflect within
Consider deeds both good and bad
Keep silent! Sit where you are shown
This is my day! I'm glad.
Expect no dignitaries bloc
No acknowledgements, they bore
My friends were all the same to me
Though some were rich, some poor.
Behind my funeral bier
Behind my family dear
Tread silently, not a whisper make
And take your exit without flair.
Weep not! Speak not! Make no
There's only one star today
No concert, circus, I made my plans
To have my funeral, my way!
by james j. catalyn
Today I discovered someone new
Someone who's loving, some one who's true
Someone who's charming,
witty and wise
Dedicated, considerate, with a
heart gallon size
Someone who's kind, soft spoken,
understood, uncomplicated and plain
Someone who's smiling,
chatty and calm Older and wiser, who tries not to alarm
Someone who's gentle, prayerful,
Someone who knows what life's all
Someone who would like an example
Today, I discovered that some,
Barrington H. Brennen
My uncle, James J.
Catalyn, was special. He was well organized,
particular, detailed, meticulous. More that thirty
years ago he gave my mother (his sister, Mary Brennen) the
more than twenty-page document for his memorial service.
He updated it three times since then. When my mother
died in 2015, he passed on the documents to two of his
nieces, Ann Albury and Gini Catalano Pieri.
Twenty-five years ago he asked me to sing at his memorial
the song, "I walked today where Jesus walked." He
reminded me of that just four weeks ago.
Uncle James left the
program for his memorial already typed out to the minute
details. All we have to do is to edit by removing or
adding names of deceased persons. The
instructions he left for the memorial, we are to follow
without wavering. He even assigned seats
for everyone. Towards the end of the document he
made it very clear not to adjust it in any way.
Here are his own words: "Anyone wishing
or requesting other than as I have stated in this document,
is simply to be told, "James does not wish it."
Here are samples of
his wishes in his own words.
"He did not wish an Obituary; neither
did he wish an “As I Knew Him", nor "Tributes", nor
"Precious Memories" at the back of the funeral booklet,
nor a "Gathering" after the service." Taken
from his poem.
"ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY AND
DEFINITELY no one is to make any remarks other than as
laid out in the funeral booklet. Absolutely
nothing is to be added to or deleted from my funeral
service and my family is not to accommodate any requests
or demands made by anyone."
"Absolutely and definitely NO
Junkanoo Rush out at my funeral, nor special Tee-shirts
bearing my picture."
"Pleas do not say "Oh, he dead, he
ain't ger know." These are my wishes and this is
how I feel about these things. There is no need
for my family to be embarrassed telling someone "No."
"In lieu of flowers, donations may
be sent to a central fund (to be made by the family) and
divided between the Samaritan Ministry, and the AIDS
REMARKABLE TRIBUTE BELOW:
Oswald Brown: "Having
known the late James Catalyn from my boyhood days,
I was immensely proud of his accomplishments as a
“playwright, poet, actor and cultural icon.”
That’s how he was described by accomplished Bahamian
artist Jamaal Rolle in his tribute accompanying
this remarkable portrait that he sketched of my good
friend. My his soul rest in peace."
james j. catalyn © 1960
Sleep comes at last
Sleep, rest, peace
From this world of toil and heartaches
Far away another day breaks
Where the weary find their rest
Forever on the Master's breast