Tribute By Hon Asot A. Michael on the passing of Anthony Mitchell Michael

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

ANTHONY MITCHELL MICHAEL B.Sc., M.A., LL.B.

1945 – 2024

Tribute

By Hon Asot A. Michael

My family… Francis, Teresa-Anne, Soraya and myself – mourn the loss of our dear cousin Anthony Mitchell Michael also fondly known as Reg

If he were here, I have no fear, he would declare:

“Cry for me little”

Think of me sometimes, but not too much

Think of me now and again as I was in life

At some moments, It’s pleasant to recall

But not for long.

Leave me in peace,

and I shall leave you in peace.

And, while you live,

Let your thoughts be with the living

We loved him. We cherished him. We will miss Anthony Reg Michael. We will miss his unstinting selflessness. We will miss his remarkable open handedness. We will miss his easy style. But most of all, we will miss his ready smile.

Today, we honor the guiding light of his life and times with us – talking, learning, laughing and eating Mommy’s raw Kibbi and Labneh, specially prepared for him on those frequent visits to our home.

The son of my grandfather’s brother, Anthony Michael was everything a father figure could be. He paid for my first three years at Barry University in Florida where I earned my first degree. He was extremely proud of my appointment as Chief of Staff to the late Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird in 1997. And, in the early years of my service in the governance of Antigua and Barbuda, he wrote all my speeches. Indeed, through the trials and tribulations of that journey, I was privileged to have his unconditional love and support.

Reg was a wonderful human being blessed with two truly amazing gifts:

–    a sublime intellect hoisted on the science of being; and

a caring heart grounded firm and deep in the art of living.

He knew, he loved, he understood, he empathized.

From his youth, it was evident that Reg was intellectually a cut above the rest with an appetite for knowledge and understanding of life in every respect and every aspect. He excelled in science at high school and earned a medical degree in Canada where he also studied psychology before going to law school.

The decision not to practice medicine and move on to other fields of study deeply disappointed his father and may have affected the value of his inheritance, even though that would not have been a consideration for Uncle Tony as he took on the challenge of life doing whatever he felt he had to do to widen and deepen his contribution to the advancement of humanity.

Meticulous to a fault in maintaining order and cleanliness next to godliness in his home, Reg was a devout bridge player, fond of his tobacco smoking pipe, his exquisite spirits, wines and malt liquors, and his keen sense of history through which he collected two sets of original maps of Antigua and Barbuda – one in Toronto and one in Antigua.

Anthony Michael served in Antigua’s Ministry of Planning and at the United Nations in New York. He was a proud, dedicated ambassador of his beloved Antigua and Barbuda trusted advisor to former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird. In fact, Anthony was the sole person instrumental in 1991 of brokering peace between the late Sir Vere Cornwall Bird snr and his son the late Sir Lester Bird at my home at Dry Hill on the night of my father’s funeral in May 1991. That peace agreement brought back Sir Lester Bird and John E St Luce into the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda

Reg appreciated the roots that trace his ancestry to a poor, simple peasant village located high in the mountains of Lebanon, where hard work, love of God, family and fellow man dictate one’s daily life and hope for the future on one’s children.

He reminded us that our great grandparents were poor peasants who emigrated West 150 years ago, worked hard and educated their children so that the future generations would not have to work as hard as their parents and grandparents did. That was the driving force behind their motivation to succeed in business with honest, straightforward, and caring treatment of customers and employees, alongside kindness and philanthropy to their church, their schools and to their fellowman.

I remember the pride he expressed in explaining how it is in the culture of this family to reach out and to help the less fortunate. He was equally proud of how the Lebanese entrepreneurs outperformed and thereby succeeded the English and Scottish merchants.

He believed it was the enduring benevolence of his predecessors that blessed him with a passion for social good and using money not just to grow personal wealth but more importantly for causes in need of assistance.

Anthony Reg Michael will be held in the highest esteem, by citizens from all walks of life, not merely for his kindness and generosity, but because of the purity of his intentions to advance the cause of good in Antigua and Barbuda and around the world. I have had the honor of meeting many exceptionally intelligent people as well as many extremely kind people. Reg was a luminous example of one of the very

few embodiments of both brilliance and benevolence. He was a beacon among those souls who freely shared their profound knowledge with boundless generosity.

But this generosity was not confined to the fruits of his intellect alone. From every aspect of his being, he spoke with unvarnished honesty reflecting his clear-sightedness—always conveyed with respect, grace and humility.

I paraphrase the immortal words of Gilbert Josiah Holland in ‘God Give Us Men’ to say:

He was A strong mind, great heart,

with true faith and ready hands;

A man of honor; who did not lie;

A tall man, sun-crowned, who lived above the fog

In public duty, and in private thinking;

He never mingled in selfish strife,

Left to him alone freedom would never weep

Wrong would never rule the land

And Justice would never be asleep.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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