Back in 1963 Prince Buster gave us the memorable hit Black Head Chinaman. Had he met the brother who brought us together here today, that probably would have inspired another hit, Black Head Coolieman. On July 7, 1951 in Rocky Point, a small fishing village in Clarendon, Jamaica, that black head Coolieman burst onto the scene as Gwendolyn Winnifred Laylor and Gilbert Nandram were blessed with a bundle of joy, to whom they gave two of their country’s most favorite names, Errol and Roy.
In !me, mother relocated with li(le Errol to her job at 39 Beechwood Avenue in Kingston and joined the blended family of Frank and Beryl Davis and their three sons Colin, Michael and Roger. They were later joined by his younger sister, Sharon.
Errol and Roger attended the Avondale Preparatory School un!l at the age of 9, two years below the standard age, Errol passed the rigorous high school entrance exam to a(end Wolmer’s Boys’ School. His East Indian last name would throughout his life!me be a puzzle to many, and at Wolmer’s it got him the nickname “Nancy” by which he wasn’t exactly thrilled. S!ll, he maintained his academic excellence, and in 1969 moved on to the University of the West Indies, where he became involved in the Black Power Movement on the Mona campus. While there, he also worked in the Ministry of Finance up un!l his emigra!on to the USA to reunite with his mother and siblings Sharon, Dave and Coleen in Dorchester, MA.
On joining the Davis family, he was introduced to the Seventh-day Adven!st Church, and was soon bap!zed into its fellowship. Brother Nandram was no bench-warmer. Among the offices he held was that of Lay Ac!vi!es Secretary. Lay Ac!vi!es was the ministry primarily focused on evangelism, for which he showed a remarkable mo!va!on. As a direct result of his efforts, a whole army of students from the Jamaica School of Art were bap!zed into the Macedonia SDA church on Berwick Road in Whitfield Town. Among them was the future interna!onal painter and art professor, Bryan McFarlane, along with three of his brothers.
His mentoring of those converts was enhanced by the combina!on of candor, a dry humor, and an ability to make light of serious situa!ons, which made for an engaging presence. Added to those personality traits was his earnest penchant for helping others, as seen especially in the sharing of his impressive wri!ng skills.
In 1982, he was recruited by the Federal Reserve Bank and during his tenure there, he was awarded the pres!gious Black Achiever Award by the City of Boston. That’s before moving to California to pursue new opportuni!es, and then eventually returning to Boston to take up a posi!on with Partners Healthcare in the Accoun!ng Division. In 2017, after two and a half decades at Partners, he finally re!red.
But life tosses us its curve-balls, and in his senior years those came in the form of persistent health challenges which required extensive medical care. During this period, he was assisted by Garth, Dana, Jelani, Omar and other loved-ones. Graciously, in his ill health he was able to help other sick family members.
In the early morning of November 13th, 2022, he succumbed to his illnesses. He is preceded by his father Gilbert and his sister Sharon, and sadly missed by his mother Winnifred Laylor, brothers: Roger, Dave, and Garth; sisters: Lilly and Coleen; cousin Omar, as well as aunt, uncle, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends.
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