Tue | Aug 11, 2020

A joyful farewell for Elva

Published:Sunday | November 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
Elva's father, Egbert Ruddock, and her older sister, Karen Fredrick.
From left: Aloun Assamba and Olivia Grange share a light moment with little Arinna Temple.
Elva's brother, Mark Ruddock (Quacky as she always called him) stayed in character for the duration of the funeral.
Ian 'Ity' Ellis in a memorial service that was full of laughter.
Rodney Campbell (left) and recording artiste, Mr Lexx.
From left: Simone Cooper, William Mahfood and Emprezz Golding.
From left: Challaine Ruddock, Dionne Silvera, Olivia Grange and Karen Harriott.

If was a send-off fit for the 'Queen of comedy', that unfolded at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium last Saturday afternoon. The late Elva Ruddock gave the world the gift of laughter, so even as loved ones gathered to celebrate her life, mourning was not an option. As scores of persons flocked the venue to pay their final respects, there was not one teary eye in sight.

In fact, the memorial service felt more like a concert than a funeral service. Ruddock who passed away last month after a silent battle with Lupus, was described as a woman who lived her life to the fullest. While she lived, she hated the idea of people throwing her a 'pity party'. She despised the thought so much that she did not even make her illness public. Her death came as a shock to many, as even days leading up to her passing, she was still putting making people laugh.

Based on the way she lived her life, Ruddock made it clear in her wishes she did not want people crying for her. Instead, she wanted her memorial service to be a big party. She wanted people to enjoy themselves and that they did.

During the three hour service which began at 3: 00 p.m., so much laughter filled the auditorium that her photo projected on a screen at the front of the room was the only reminder that this was an actual funeral.

Stories of how funny Ruddock was, were told by some of her closest family and friends. As the tributes flowed, smiles were painted on the faces of persons in the audience. Loud laughter would sporadically erupt from the audience as Ruddock's colleagues in comedy carried out the wishes of their beloved. Encouraging the audience not to cry for their friend, the speakers recalled the great memories they shared and spoke of the lives she touched by merely being herself.

In fact, the latter was a message those closest to her wanted to emphasise. They expressed that while she was alive, she was the life of any party, and that she became by staying true to who she was. Speaking of the love Ruddock had for people, her family and friends encouraged those in attendance to honour her memory by always being true to themselves. They also made it clear that the late queen of comedy wanted people to always wear a smile no matter what adversities they were facing in their life.

The memorial service was attended by several of Ruddock's former colleagues including Christopher 'Johnny' Daley, Ity Ellis, Michael Abrahams, Daliah Harris, Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Omar Azan, the Bashco team and William Mahfood.