Hundreds of Vincentian, Caribbean and American nationals last Sunday evening paid their last respects to Vincentian Carlos “Paul” Adams at a funeral service at his home church in Rahway, NJ.
Adams died on Feb. 17 after a prolonged battle with heart disease in which he underwent several surgeries, his wife, Merlina, told Caribbean Life. Adams was 57.
Mourners at the Agape Family Worship Center described Adams, as loving, caring and compassionate, among other superlatives.
“Carlos, you invested so much in our lives,” said Adams’ sister-in-law, Dalleane McNichols, in her tribute. “I often thought of you walking me down the aisle, but I know you will be there in spirit.”
Members of the Agape Media Group, of which Adams was a member, joined in the glowing tributes during the two-hour-long service that was punctuated with lofty singing by the church’s choir and congregation, backed up by the church’s nine-member orchestra.
“Carlos was a great friend,” said Media Group member Tanya, who, like another member, Sonia, did not give her last name. “Carlos always loved the Lord.”
Sonia, who joined the Media Ministry 23 years ago, said Adams will be “solely missed.”
Another young member of the church, whose name was also not given, said he and Adams had “stories.”
“Those heart-to-heart conversations between me and you, I’ll never forget,” he said, looking at the flower-bedecked casket in front of the altar. “You were like a father to me. Your summer barbecues, I will miss your hamburgers [laughter].
“You did a lot for me,” he added, reading from a smart phone. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you [before Adams expiry in the nearby hospital]. I wish I did.
“I’m hoping you’re fishing in Heaven,” continued the white mourner, alluding to Adams’ love of fishing. “Catch a big fish for me [his voice quivering, his eyes reddening, and tears flowing down his cheeks].”
Adams’ brother, Peter Adams, one year Adams’ junior, who trekked from St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the funeral and interment, said his brother “loved life.”
“The reality [of Adams’ death] didn’t hit me until I see him [his body in the casket] here tonight,” said the recently-retired Station Sergeant in the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, disclosing that Carlos was the third member of the Adams family to go to the Great Beyond in the last 10 years. Their mother, Clementine Adams, died in the Bronx about seven years ago; and the youngest brother, Martin, predeceased Carlos in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Powell, said Adams was “a great man, a wonderful father,” asking mourners to give Adams a standing ovation. They, un-hesitantly, reciprocated.
After reading the obituary, Noreena Bayard, another sister-in-law, said Adams had “fought a strong and courageous battle, never losing faith.”
Dr. Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University, Piscataway, where Adams worked as a Student Loan Specialist, before he died, said in a statement, read during the acknowledgements, that the faculty, staff and students at the university were “deeply saddened” by Adams’ death.
“And we want you to know, you’re in our prayers,” said Dr. Barchi, who holds Ph. D and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, referring to Merlina and the Adams’ son, Emeka, 24, who sat next to his mother throughout the service.
Adams was born on July 4, 1959 to Innis and Clementine Adams, of Kingstown Park, Kingstown, the Vincentian capital. His parents predeceased him.
He attended the St. Mary’s Primary and the St. Martin’s Secondary schools in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital; and, after graduating from St. Martin’s Secondary School, he went on to university in Trinidad and Tobago, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and accounting. The obituary did not indicate the name of the university.
Adams’ first place of employment was at Y’delima, Ltd., in Kingstown, as an accountant for eight years.
He migrated to New York in 1986, working as a payroll supervisor at the nonprofit Catholic Charities, then at the Jewish Board, followed by Morgan Library.
Adams met his “best friend” Merlina in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1977. They later reconnected in the United States and were married in 1993.
Besides Merlina, Emeka and Peter, Adams is survived by two other children — Jumon and Jenique Adams in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; brother George Adams (in St. Vincent and the Grenadines); and sisters Bernice (in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Hyacinth (in Barbados); and Judy and Charmaine (in the Bronx).
He was interred Monday, Feb. 27 at the Forest Green Park Cemetery in Morganville, near Old Bridge, NJ.