"Whenever he spoke there was always a sense of calm"
Eulogy: Luke Prevost (29 October 1949 - July 30 2020)
Our mom had five boys. It was not unusual for mummy to send one of us to the shop at Marigot after dark, to buy a few groceries or kerosene for the lamp, but not Lukie. Once darkness falls you could not get Lukie to go anywhere. When Stanley and I left home to attend SMA in 1960, Lukie 11 yrs. old, was still the little brother who got deathly afraid when our big brother "Taboy" would tell us scary night time stories, with his own made up monsters, soukoyan, ghosts, and lajab -bless. Lukie would squeeze up close to me, and I would hear his heart beating like a drum. But he would still listen to the end.
But it would not be long before Lukie conquered fear. By the time Lukie graduated from the Technical Wing of the Grammar School and was pursuing his A levels at the Sixth form College which was then situated at the back of the Windsor Park Stadium, Lukie had transformed from timid young boy to brave, mature and focused teenager.
I say this because regularly, after late nights of study with his colleagues in preparation for A level exams, Lukie was regularly walking alone from the Sixth Form College at the back of the Grammar School, up the then lonely and deserted Stockfarm road at all late hours of the night, sometimes after midnight to his home where he lived with me in the Stockfarm Managers House. One night when he arrived home just before midnight, I asked him if he-was not afraid. He hesitated for a brief moment, as if to find the right words. Then he answered, "Afraid? What's that?"
At home in the family and in the Marigot church community it was thought that Lukie would become a priest. Had Lukie attended SMA instead of DGS, the Prevost family would have had their priest. At the end anyway, Lukie became a communion minister.
(Contributed by his brother, Norris Prevost)
Lukie completed the programme of education at the Technical Wing (Tech Wing) of the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) in 1966, and entered in the Agricultural Training segment of the newly reorganized Technical Wing called the Technical and Agricultural Center (TAG).
As one of the top graduating students of the two year programme of the TAG, in 1968, Lukie was allowed by Principal Cecil Goodridge to join the academic 5th form students of DGS to prepare for the General Certificate of Education (GCE). He was promoted to 6th Form in 1969 from where he passed the required Advanced Level subjects to qualify him for acceptance and entrance into the University of the West Indies BSc. Agriculture programme where he graduated in 1975. Later, Lukie enrolled at Reading University, where he completed his Masters in Farm Management in 1982.
(Contributions by Nelson Pierre, classmate and friend)
Luke was a member of the agriculture and business communities of Dominica. He began as a counterpart agronomist at the Wet Area Experiment Station. Luke was a major contributor towards improving the Agricultural Sector of Dominica, especially the Banana Industry, as the Operations Manager of the Dominica Banana 1980s. He continued to be influential when he returned to the industry as chairman of the Dominica Banana Producers Ltd (DAPEX) in the 2010s. Luke also was the Manager of Antilles Cement and CIMPEX. He was a lifelong farmer. He operated his farm from the mid-1970s to his death. In all his roles, Luke was known for his quiet leadership, calming presence and the encouragement and support he always had for others in order to bring out their best.
At his death, he was an active member of the Cochrane Farmers Group, the Pineapple Association of Dominica and the UWP Roseau South Constituency Association.
(Contributions by family, friends and colleagues)
Reflections on Lukie's life from his wife and daughters
Lukie married Jacqueline Lancaster on August 7th, 1978. They have 3 children: Luanna, Tawana, and Marie-Estelle.
Lukie always did the best he could to provide for us even working during holidays. He felt it was his duty to provide. He was always there for his family. We have many fond memories of going on holidays like to the beach at Portsmouth with his children and his children's friends (it helped that he always drove a van). He would drive his children from school and to various activities, especially when his wife was working.
He always tried to be a good person and have a good relationship with God. He would wake up, say his prayers and sing hymns. Of course, he sang a calypso every now and then.
Daddy was always supportive. He wanted us, his daughters, to be courageous, not to the point of risky behaviour, but to see life as holding endless opportunities. Typically, he would encourage us with "Just give it a try," and more often than not we would discover a new interest or skill.
Daddy was logical. He saw each challenge as an opportunity to sit back, assess, reassess and work steadily to a solution. There was no need to be flustered or unnecessarily worried. Instead, he guided us to take a few breaths, apply a systematic approach with which we could find potential solutions. Because of this, whenever he spoke there was always a sense of calm. He usually began with "Well Luann", "Well Tawan", or "Well Marie", followed by a long pause, and then he proceeded to ask questions that would help us to see the opportunities that we had previously overlooked. Although Daddy appeared very serious on the outside, with family and close friends he shared his corny sense of humor (a trait shared by his brothers, daughters, nieces and nephews). He always had a silly joke and would have prolonged humorous conversations with his daughters, each riffing off each other while enjoying the looks of exasperation from Jacqui.
The jewels of his existence in the last nine years were his two grandsons, Jarius and Tobias. Papa, as they affectionately called him helped with babysitting and travel to and from daycare. He introduced them to new books and new foods. He also brought them into the world of farming, helping them each to plant a golden apple tree on his farm, and pineapples at home, which he monitored religiously. The boys will miss playing with their Papa. He did everything for his family that a loving caring husband, father and grandfather would do.
Lukie enjoyed football, singing, and dancing (though rhythm was questionable). He was a jack-of-all-trades and loved engineering fixes at home and on the farm.
Lukie, the man
Lukie was a problem solver. If someone couldn't find the solution to a problem, he would provide many potential approaches and chances before he would cease to seek resolution, and move on. Some may have perceived this grace as an opportunity to take advantage of him, but they quickly realized that despite his openness to give second and third chances, he was resolute in principles.
He respected everyone. He never felt too proud to help anyone. Lukie didn't keep enemies. You could have pointed out with every proof that someone was his enemy, but it never bothered him. He would still treat that person well and say - "That's ok. There is nothing I can do, that's how they feel but if I have an opportunity I'll still talk to them, still help them and the person will have to work it out themselves."
Lukie was a good man. When he loved you, he loved you - with every fault you may have. He took everything unto himself and loved you just as you were.
My Brother Lukie
Dear Jackie, Luanna, Tawana and Marie Estelle
Behind every successful man, there is a wife, a woman, a mother, a father and yes a brother!
Thank you Brother Lukie, for the great contribution you made to my life: family life, business life and community life. They say still waters run deep. It is true. So it has been between Lukie and I, and our other brothers James, Sunnyboy and Sacco deceased, Stanley and Ellsworth still alive, and our Sisters Jesmin deceased, and Annette alive. The love with which my children Vanessa, Gilbert, Shanna and Janelle refer to their uncle Lukie, is testimony to the deep loving, caring brotherly relationship which existed between Lukie and I.
Family wise, Lukie has been an exemplary uncle to my children, both by his own life, and in the way he has brought up his children in our Catholic faith. We joyfully celebrated their births together, their christenings, their first communions and their confirmations. And we basked no less in their graduations and academic achievements.
Our lives have been so well aligned with our values; one could even say that Lukie and I have been "Soul aligned". No sooner I had completed my Agriculture degree at UWI St Augustine campus in 1969; Lukie was to follow, in the same Campus living in the same Hall to begin his own agricultural degree. A few years later, we were to engage in the development of a farm from virgin forests in Cockrane, where, having done some of the pioneering work, Lukie was to purchase from me, and to go on to develop what is even up to today, one of the best farms in Dominica.
I remember visiting Lukie's farm after Tropical Storm Erica. The damage to his farm was humongous. Landslides had swept away acres of avocados, pineapples and yams.
But Lukie, the quiet giant that he was, did not give up. Lukie on his own rebuilt his farm. It was barely two years later that Hurricane Maria was to give him even a heavier blast. But in-spite of all these challenges, Lukie stayed the course. Lukie rebuilt his farm even better.
Lukie leaves behind a Model Farm of grapefruits, pineapples and root crops, which Dominican farmers can learn from and emulate.
As a well-focused family man, Lukie did not delay to build himself a home. He was among the first residents to build his home in the new Castle Comfort Estate Housing Development. And so, from parents' home at Marigot, Lukie and I became next door neighbors in Castle Comfort, where he lived until his passing on 30 July 2020.
Our families lived in harmony with our children growing up running and playing together in each other's yards; with Lukie giving me pineapples, Cush Cush and grapefruits from his farm, whilst I gave him babawoulay and mangoes from mine.
Thank you Lukie for the comfort you brought me when I traveled, (which 1 often did) knowing that my brother next door, was there to "throw an eye" on my family next door. Thank you very much.
But you were also there for the bigger picture. Without your taking over the management of my various business enterprises, I could not have dedicated the time I did, to building up the Roseau Community and representing them and the United Workers Party in Parliament all these years.
Your service to customers by way of seminars for home builders, owners and contractors, your seminars to farmers on the proper use of agricultural inputs, were teaching moments over and above what money could buy.
Thank you. Lukie you brought your meticulous analytical mind not only to my business enterprises, but also to enhance my parliamentary presentations on agriculture and tourism.
As team manager of the Roseau Central campaign team for the 2005 and 2009 general elections, your calm, your organizational skills, your data driven analysis and your Team Leadership, brought us the victories.
During your short journey, you touched the lives of many and made a significant difference.
Lukie, you are gone from this life but your values you stood for will live on; both among our family and the wider community whom you touched.
When we last spoke on the Wednesday you came from the hospital after your chemotherapy, both myself and brother in law Vincent blessed you.
In response you said with a joyful smile, "Thank you. The blessings you give me is all I can carry with me". I believe that having lived a life to gain the Salvation which Jesus Christ earned for us by His death on the cross and His Resurrection, you are now resting in His Peace.
May The Lord have mercy on your soul and grant you His Peace. And May the Lord continue to have mercy on our families and grant us His Peace. Amen.