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Footprints | John Barnswell Consummate tailor and man of God

Jamaica Gleaner / John Barnswell

Consummate tailor and man of God

Some of the men at Elim Assembly, located at 71/2 Shortwood Road in St Andrew, will tell you that the late John Barnswell had something to do with some of the pants they wear; he either made them and/or adjusted their waists.

Barnswell, born in Riversdale, St Catherine on New Year’s Day 1929, to Adviera Richards and James Barnswell, spent the greater part of his life making men’s clothes. It is said that he was the consummate tailor.

He was brought up in Old Harbour in the said parish, and in his quest for employment relocated to Kingston, where he was apprenticed and employed for many years by a Herbert Carnegie until he moved on to set up his own practice. He lived at Chisholm Avenue, and Grant’s Pen Road up to the time of his transition.

Yet Barnswell was not active with the scissors and sewing machine only. He was a devoted and well-loved member of the congregation at Elim Assembly, and the father of Faye, Joan, Carol, Maxine, Thelma and son Tony. Because of them, he was a grandfather times 10, and a great-grandfather times eight.

Barnswell left his posterity on April 20 this year, shortly after sustaining a hip injury from a fall. Two brothers, Lloyed and Oscar, had predeceased him.

His thanksgiving service was held on May 20 at Elim Assembly, where he became a member in 1980, and was baptised in September 1981.

The interment was followed in the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.

John Barnswell was eulogised by a church brother as a humble man, whom the Assembly will surely miss. “He leaves behind a good testimony of one who loved the Lord, served him faithfully, and loved the place where his name was honoured and proclaimed,” the brother said.

In her greetings, sent from New York, Noelle Dale-Brown, said, “Mr Johnnie was my caregiver when my father had to go to work. He took care of me, and protected me like my own father. I love him so much, and miss this great man.”

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