February 2021 Volume 17

Eulogy of Everton Montaque Barrett. December 1, 1954 – January 8, 2021

Earl Adams
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What is time? Time is the measurement of the distance between one event and the other.

Time is the most valuable asset we have. It is more valuable than money. Money, if you do not have, you can always find a way to make more. Time, on the other hand, once it’s gone, it cannot be retrieved.

Today, I want to tell you about time shared with Everton Barrett, my best friend, neighbor and Brother from another mother.

Alicia and I moved to Atlanta in 1997. After getting new jobs, we began searching for a new home. Our sales agent took us to a new Morrison Homes project - Laurel Ridge Subdivision under construction in Alpharetta. We fell in love with the lot and the Coventry home style. We decided that we were going to buy this home. It was at the model house that the sales rep told us there was another Jamaican couple building another Coventry style home 2 doors away from ours. One day we went visiting to inspect the progress of the construction and we saw Everton and Arlene also inspecting their new home. We went and introduced ourselves and then began a series of “Me to” conversations. The conversation went something like this: Arlene said, “We have 2 boys,” to which Alicia replied “Me To.”

Alicia said, “My mother will also be living with us,” to which Arlene replied, “Me Too.” The Crème de la resistance, the coup de gras, the icing on the cake came when I asked Everton which school did he attend and he said Kingston College, my only reply was, “A lie! Me to.”

So was sown the seeds of a long lasting friendship and brotherhood that continues today.

Everton was a family man. He was devoted to his family. He wanted to make sure that they had the very best life could offer. He did his best to expose them to the wonders and opportunities of this world from a young age. We shared these ideals and we organized family outings to Anna Ruby Falls where the kids went tubing down the White River and hiked up to the falls. We went to Amicalola Falls State Park, which is the highest waterfall in Georgia. Along the way, we took time out to go horseback riding. It did not end there; we loaded up our minivans and took the families to Disney and Universals Studio parks in Orlando. In addition to the numerous Memorial Day and July 4th barbecues, we shared responsibilities for the big Holidays. Everton and Arlene did Thanksgiving while Alicia and I did Christmas.

Our get togethers were legendary, lasting into the wee hours of the night, filled with conversations and “nuff laughing”. This is where Everton was at his finest. In addition to being affable, he was witty and funny. He had a great sense of humor that complimented his deep baritone voice. He knew how to spice up a discussion and frequently played agent provocateur / devil’s advocate, subtly throwing Molotov cocktails into the conversations, sat back, and watched the sparks fly. All this joviality was without the aid of any intoxicating spirits.

While his 6’ 4” frame and broad shoulders appear intimidating to most, especially if he was on the losing side of his son’s little league soccer team, he was more like a gentle teddy bear. On one occasion, Alicia and I dropped by his “Veranda” (really his garage) to find him with his head in his shoulders sobbing away. When asked why, he explained that young Marlon was hit in the head while playing and then pityfully said, “How mi a go tell Miss Arlene.” Truth be told, Arlene was the real drill Sergeant in the family. Never let her small size fool you! As the Bunny Wailer song goes, “Don’t watch my size ….” You know the rest!

While we had a lot of fun times together, his love and resources was not limited to just his children alone but also to his extended family. He was the bedrock of his extended family, to his mother Joyce, his brother Michael, his sisters Carol and Jackie and to his nephew Roy. He was a confidant, friend and brother to his cousin Morris with whom we shared so much of Everton’s time together. To them I express deepest condolences for the loss of this great man.

There was no one in the world more precious to Everton than his beloved wife of 34 years, Arlene. His world revolved around her, they did everything together, you name it, even shopping. My wife have to bribe me to go to the mall with her, but that was Everton and Arlene – inseparable. So, I can just imagine what you are going through but I want you to know we are here for you in this time of grief.

To his children Natasha, Omar, Levar, Marlon and Khalil, your father was an honorable man who was fiercely independent in thought and deed. He left great memories and was a great example to follow. Today, we grieve for him, but when the grieving is over, rejoice and be glad that you had such a wonderful man as your father.

While so much is commendable about Everton’s time with his family, he also served as a leader in many volunteer organizations. Primary among them is KCOBA Ga Inc. (ask KCOBA to stand).

In 1999, Everton and I were among the founding members of KCOBA Ga Inc. We served continuously in some capacity either as a Director, or as an Officer. Everton served as President for 3 years and as VP for about 3 years as well. He was ambitious and always wanted to achieve big things. He was a man of action and shared not just his time and talents, but also his treasure. I know he wanted badly for us to purchase a property of our own where we could have meetings, events and to be a basis of revenue for KC. When he saw that we could not see as clearly as he did, he embarked on a journey of his own to build a Caribbean Cultural Arts Center in DeKalb County. He purchased the land, had the architect draw up the plans, blue prints – a theatrical complex complete with parking spaces. The whole enchilada. Winston was commissioned to do a soil survey of the property, but unfortunately, it was not to be. The Real Estate Market Crash of 2008 scuttled those plans.

More importantly, he also wanted to build a sense of fraternity, a network of community and to that end, he opened not just his heart but also his home as a venue for us to have meetings and a place for us to have social events. Since our inception, our KCOBA chapter has donated over $250,000 to the school. His contributions to the success of our undertaking is greatly appreciated. We are grateful to the Barrett family for the time he spent with us.

However, his generosity was not limited to KC, he was also the steering committee President of the first iteration of the Atlanta Jamaican Chamber of Commerce spearheaded by Jason Walker, and President of the Laurel Ridge Home Owners Association for over 3 years.

He was an eternal optimist constantly trying to find financial independence through the many entrepreneurial ventures he undertook. This included entertainment promotions with Dennis Brown in New York, Restaurant owner in Brandon FL , Restaurateur and China Store in Port Charlotte, Professional Insurance Brokerage in Alpharetta, retail Furniture Store owner in Norcross, while at the same time running his core independent technology consulting business, AEB technology Inc.

He was a friend to many but I claim him as my best friend. Hardly a week went by when we did not communicate. I remembered when my father Capt. Edward Adams Sr. (RIP) passed away in 2005. I told Everton we were going to Jamaica for the funeral. Without hesitation, he offered to come with us, in our time of grief. As you know, going to Jamaica takes planning, its expensive, and you have to schedule vacation time from work and so on. He and Arlene adjusted their schedules, took their entire family to be there for us. That was very special to me and showed the character of the man I had come to know.

He was fearless. His journey and philosophy is well documented in his memoires, “Black Man Rising”.

In as much as I believe my time with Everton was well spent, I wish … I had more time.

I was looking forward to showing him my new toy, my Celestron Nexstar 8 se telescope. To view, enjoy and discuss the wonders of the Cosmos together. He loved philosophical discussions.

As a KC man, our motto is, “Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest” which means “The Brave May Fall but never Yield.”

To Everton, my dear brother, I say FORTIS, until we meet again. May your Soul Rest in Peace.

Earl Adams

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