Tue | Apr 16, 2024

Tearful farewell for Jill Stewart

Published:Sunday | July 30, 2023 | 12:11 AMJanet Silvera - Senior Gleaner Writer
An emotional Adam Stewart (centre), executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International, is consoled by Yoni Epstein, chairman and CEO of intelCX, as Jordan Samuda, chief administrative officer, Sandals Resorts International, looks on.
An emotional Adam Stewart (centre), executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International, is consoled by Yoni Epstein, chairman and CEO of intelCX, as Jordan Samuda, chief administrative officer, Sandals Resorts International, looks on.
From left: Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has a word with Sandra Golding, as her husband Opposition Leader Mark Golding looks on during the thanksgiving ceremony for Jill Stewart on Saturday. Also pictured are Juliet Holness and husband, Prime Minister A
From left: Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has a word with Sandra Golding, as her husband Opposition Leader Mark Golding looks on during the thanksgiving ceremony for Jill Stewart on Saturday. Also pictured are Juliet Holness and husband, Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Adam Stewart carries an urn bearing the remains of his wife, Jill, into the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Montego Bay, St James, for a funeral on Saturday.
Adam Stewart carries an urn bearing the remains of his wife, Jill, into the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Montego Bay, St James, for a funeral on Saturday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness expresses condolences to widower Adam Stewart as Robert Russell looks on.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness expresses condolences to widower Adam Stewart as Robert Russell looks on.
Raymond Simpson, father of Jill Stewart, being consoled by his son Raymond Jr.
Raymond Simpson, father of Jill Stewart, being consoled by his son Raymond Jr.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Relatives and friends came together on Saturday in a thanksgiving service filled with tears and love to celebrate the life of Jill Stewart, a woman who left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who knew her.

Jill’s soulmate and husband of 28 years, Adam Stewart, president and chairman of Sandals Resorts International, led the tributes with strength and courage, reminiscing about their beautiful journey together and the impact she had on everyone around her.

Jill was not only a devoted wife to Adam, she was also a cherished mother, sister, sister-in-law, and daughter-in-law, whose love and wisdom touched the lives of many.

As Stewart stood before the hundreds of mourners at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Montego Bay, St James, on Saturday afternoon, he shared heart-warming memories of their life together and the remarkable bond they shared.

Addressing Jill’s sister Sarah directly, he acknowledged the profound influence his wife had on her.

“Their sisterly bond was unbreakable, a testament to the deep love they had for each other,” Stewart said.

He continued, speaking of how Jill’s love extended beyond their immediate family, embracing friends as if they were kin. He thanked his sister Jaime, whose sisterhood with Jill started in their schooldays and grew stronger over time, raising their children together with love and support.

And he recognised his mother, P.J. Stewart, his father, the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, brother Brian Jardim and wife Sheilagh, Jill’s parents Jan and Raymond Simpson, and her brother, Raymond Jr.

The church hall echoed with stories from close friends in a service punctuated by tears as mourners – many of whom donned shades of her favourite colour, blue – sat transfixed by memories of Jill. Her magnetic presence and genuine care left a lasting impression on her butler, Andre Minto, who broke down a few times during his tribute.

Jaime Stewart, Lisa Lake and Sheila Pinto, Lana Rademaker, Lindsay Farrington, and Shannon Bruce spoke of a sister and friend who was a pillar of strength in her family and friendships, always willing to go the extra mile to help and support those she loved, while Adam Stewart cemented their statement on how the mother of his three children brought stability and depth to their relationship, making her presence an irreplaceable source of strength and calm.

The service jerked the hearts, pained the souls, and dragged at the inner beings of the gathering, highlighting the remarkable friendships Jill nurtured throughout her life, which transcended borders and brought people from different parts of the world together.

As the tributes drew to a close, Stewart turned his focus to their children, whom Jill adored beyond measure. He acknowledged her role as a devoted mother, instilling in their children essential life lessons about love, health, and the importance of family.

“Her love for them was unconditional, and her legacy [will] live on through them,” he said.

Nothing came close to the deep-rooted love they shared, which was reflected in how their connection seemed to transcend lifetimes.

Recounting the early days of their romance, Stewart said the butterflies he felt in his heart at age 16 when he fell in love with her, will never fade, and the playful love that kept them navigating life together will be perpetual.

“Our relationship was built on respect, laughter, and a commitment to always put each other first,” Stewart said.

Jill’s courageous journey with her cancer taught all who knew her how to face adversity with grace and perseverance. She never once questioned “why me?”, he noted, but instead shared her journey with the world, teaching others to cherish every moment and appreciate the things that truly matter.

As the tributes ended, there was a collective feeling of love and admiration for the woman whose life had touched so many hearts.

“In this moment of grief, the love and support from family, friends, and the community proved to be a source of comfort,” said Stewart.

As mourners said their final goodbyes, they carried with them the lessons and memories that Jill had gifted them, vowing to keep her spirit alive in their hearts and actions.

Among those attending the funeral were Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet, Opposition Leader Mark Golding and his wife Sandra, several government ministers, members of parliament and members of the diplomatic corps.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com