Theodore Joseph Palacio RIP 4/4/30- 9/3/12

This page is dedicated to Mr Theodore Joseph Palacio my father.

Death Announcement

Theodore Palacio Eulogy by Allen Palacio

 

 

Eulogy for Theodore Joseph Palacio (1930-2012)

September 8, 2012

by

Allen A. Palacio­­­­­­­ [Son]

I.

I am heartened that you are here today, many having travelled from the United States.  Your presence reminds me that Theodore Palacio [better known as Ted] had certain admirable qualities that were constant across time.  I want to talk today about him as a loving family man and a holy man, an educator and public servant, and a promoter of Garifuna culture.  But let’s start at the beginning, and then take an excursion through some forgotten moments in Belizean History. 

Dad was born in 1930 in Barranco, British Honduras’s southernmost district, and almost in the southernmost village.  As a school child, he travelled with his father whenever his father, a schoolteacher, was transferred to different villages, including among the Mayas in San Antonio, Toledo, and the Mestizos as far north as Sartaneja, Corozal.  He therefore became well-versed in those different cultures at an early age, and learned to speak Spanish and two Mayan languages.

Dad didn’t enjoy much of an adolescence because when he was only 16 years old, his mother suddenly died.  He was left to care for his older sister, Olivia, and his younger brother, Joseph.  He was forced to become a man and assume manly responsibilities.  At that early age, Dad used all those experiences and adversities to develop values and leadership skills that made him a towering giant of a man who powerfully impacted numerous people throughout his life.

II.

Anybody who knew Dad for just one day would soon discover one thing: the great love of his life was his devoted wife, Bridget.  She was his rock who kept him grounded, his north star who guided him; his partner who shared his pains and joys; and his co-creator of many ventures and adventures.  Their love was not a Hollywood-style romance; it was better -- a time-tested partnership of equals.  Their love survived the loss of two children at childbirth; long periods of separation when Dad studied abroad; raising 6 boys and two girls together; migrating to the U.S. and back to Belize; and, most recently, his long illness.  Through it all, their love, like aged wine, grew richer.  Marriage is a thing of beauty when it works.  The couple’s combined love radiates outwards and touches all who come into contact with its energy.  In this case, my parents’ love encompassed his siblings, many cousins, and relatives who lived with us while they studied in Belize City, or at some other time.  To name just a few:  Jude, Lorna, Marion, Evan, Len and Joycelin Cayetano, Marge Zuniga, Rita Enriquez, Dr. Vincent Roy Palacio, Clifford Marin and Darius Avila.  Those who know them can verify that they did not turn out too badly! 

III.

Another constant in dad’s life was his love of God.  He was one of the holiest persons I knew.  He nourished his faith by attending daily Mass, praying the rosary, spiritual reading and prayer.  All his children and grandchildren will recognize this scenario:  In the middle of a relaxing moment, all of a sudden, dad would say the four most dreaded words to a child’s ear, “Let’s pray the rosary.”  There was no escaping, and all protests were in vain.  I don’t know if his children and grandchildren still pray the rosary, and I won’t ask for a show of hands.  The thing is, all he cared about was what you did when you lived under his roof.  Once you were an adult or living on your own, he placed full responsibility on you for your own religious formation -- or (de)formation as the case may be.  

Dad and Mom made a pilgrimage to a Marianne shrine in Medjugorje, in Europe, and also visited the Vatican in Rome.  They also met Pope John Paul II on his Belize visit.  But dad’s religious faith had a practical component as well.  Dad and mom founded the Garifuna choir in L.A. and Belize.  One can say music was his ministry, through which he helped draw people to God.  He was always proud of the choir, and was pleased it continues its ministry under the leadership of Teacher Thelma Arana in Belize and his son, Frank, in L.A.  

Just when it seemed like Dad had done enough spiritual works for his age, he and mom decided to pour their hearts and souls into a completely new venture, this time a construction project.  They spent long hours raising funds and overseeing the building of St. Joseph’s Catholic  Church, which has become the pride of Barranco village.  For them, the church is a lasting gift to the people of Barranco.  Recently, his son Steve, following his Dad’s example, funded the painting of the church. 

IV.

Dad was an avid promoter of Garifuna culture.  Yesterday, I was at my parents’ house and heard the neighbor’s radio playing Garifuna music the entire day.  I was shocked.  I actually remember the launch of a radio program called “Garifuna Half Hour,” which aired on Sundays for exactly half an hour. That was the only time, except around the 19th of November each year, when Garifuna was heard on the country’s only radio station at that time, Radio Belize.

When Dad and his family lived in front of Yarborough Cemetery in Belize City in the 1970’s, it was a vastly different time in terms of ethnic relations between the dominant Creoles and the minority Garinagu.  First of all, we were not called Garinagu then, but by our official designation -- “Caribs” – and that was on a good day!  Not many Garinagu lived in Belize City then.  Mostly, the Garinagu we saw in the streets or at the market were women who came from Dangriga to sell mangos, starch, cassava, etc. which they carried on their heads as they walked through the different neighborhoods. The women were routinely insulted and teased by the locals. Belize City people looked upon Garinagu mostly as exotic people who could obeah you if you crossed them.  They regarded Garinagu as folks who danced  John Canoe for you in your yard at Christmas time for a small fee.  Garinagu also had a reputation for gyrating their bodies sexily in a dance called Punta.  But, not all was negative.  Of course, once the Belize City folks got to know Garinagu, prejudices fell.  For example, although our family was one of only a few Garinagu living in that neighborhood, the Creole neighbors respected the Palacio's and for the most part treated them  very kindly.  Also, although most of the Teacher’s College faculty was Creoles, they enthusiastically accepted Dad as their principal. And he carried out his job, conscious that he was representing the entire Garifuna race, and therefore all eyes were on him to make sure he did an outstanding job.

Dad had acquired an appreciation for Garifuna culture from his life in Barranco.  He also had collaborated with Fr. Stochl on a booklet for Garifuna Mass and music called “Lanigi Bime”.  Incidentally, when Dad first became sick, he was not speaking, and we worried we might lose him.  So, while at his hospital bedside, it occurred to me to entertain myself and Dad by trying to sing old, familiar songs from that booklet.  And would you know, he responded and started speaking.  I do not discount the possibility he just got tired of my horrible singing, and therefore he decided to speak to get me to shut up.  Whatever the case, I was elated that my music therapy had succeeded.

Dad despaired of the cartoonish way Garinagu presented the culture in Belize City, and the impressions others had of us.  Therefore, he set out not to fight racial prejudice directly, but instead to change Garinagus’ people’s image of ourselves.  He and mom founded a youth group called Igemeri, to teach Garifuna language; our history from St. Vincent , and our diverse cultural offerings in food, music, dress, and dance, etc.  Andy Palacio was a member of that group, and would go on to put Belizean and Garifuna music on the world map. 

Dad became a role model for several Garinagu students who realized from his example that they too could go abroad, educate themselves, and work as professionals in Belize.  I remember many of those students visiting him, who was always proud of their accomplishments and advised them in their studies and subsequent job searches.  I think, for example, of my uncle, Dr. Joseph Palacio, the late Victor Nicholas, the Cayetanos: Roy, Fabian and Sebastian, among others.

Dad recognized the need for Garinagu to organize themselves and in systematic ways, to obtain socio-economic benefits.  He was one of the organizers of the very first Garifuna Convention held in May 1965 in Georgetown Village, which was populated by people who were setting up new homes after theirs were ravaged in Seine Bight by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.Other organizers were Godsman Ellis, Frank Arana and Phyllis Cayetano.  Excursions came from P.G., Dangriga, Hopkins, Seine Bight, and Belize City.

In the 1970’s, when travel to the districts was difficult and access to telecommunications was limited, Dad became an unofficial Ombudsman for Garinagu living in Belize City, who were trying to negotiate the Creole language and cultural ways.  I can’t count the number of times dad and Mom were called on to make hospital visitations on relatives’  behalf, become relatives’ godparents, organize Garinagus’ funerals, wakes, weddings, deal with bureaucracy, counsel wayward spouses, disobedient children, or help someone who had landed on the wrong side of the law.

 

V.

Most people know Dad for his excellent work as an educator and public servant.  He received a solid education from the St. John’s College Jesuits, including Fr. John Stochl, his teacher, who became Dad’s life-long friend.  The Jesuits selected young men from the districts who had leadership potential, and gave them scholarships to study in Belize City, in the hope they would become teachers and civic leaders.  That program was extremely successful.   Dad went on to Canada to get a Master’s degree in Education.  He never felt the need to earn a Ph.D., saying he would leave that to one of us.  Coincidentally, my brother Tim has taken up that challenge and is just weeks away from receiving his doctorate. Following Dad’s return from Canada, the faculty at Belize Teacher’s College encouraged him to apply for the position of Vice Principal.  He did, and served in that position, and later as Principal.  He oversaw the construction of Teacher’s College’s new campus, and its move from the Belize Technical College grounds to West Landivar.  As principal, dad had one of the most critical responsibilities a country can give to someone: To teach teachers how to teach our children.  What a major vote of confidence that was for a Barranco boy.  Dad had a fearsome reputation at Teacher’s College.  He was known for setting high standards and expecting compliance.   Proof of Dad’s success would persist many decades later, when teachers trained in Belize under his watch would retire from Belize, and still readily get jobs in the United States because of Teacher’s College reputation for excellence. 

Because of Dad’s experience of living in different cultures as a young boy, he promoted cultural awareness at Teacher’s College.  All students from all districts were encouraged to participate in Garifuna, Creole, Maya, Mestizo or East Indian groups, which hosted cultural days for all students to appreciate the dance, food, music and culture of their fellow Belizeans.

In 1981, the Ministry of Education sought to join all the institutions of higher learning into the new University of Belize. That decision would have major repercussions on teacher education, and involving a whole new administrative structure and novel challenges.  Dad decided to retire while Teacher’s College’s reputation was intact, and let a new generation of educators wrestle with those new university’s embryonic pains.   Dad was not concerned about holding on to power for its own sake, and instead got a job teaching at Pallotti High School and later at a high school in Los Angeles County. 

Last year, Dad was one of twenty eight Belizeans honored as a Belizean Patriot and received the Meritorious Service Award. He was pleased with the recognition, and with the fact that another honoree was his nephew, Darius Avila.  A street in Belize City was also named after him. 

VI.

This month, Belize is celebrating its 31st year of independence  – ours is still an infant nation.  I believe that, years from now, when Belize’s history is written, dad will be acknowledged as a true Belizean patriot.  My hope is that this Eulogy will be a first draft towards documenting Dad’s role in building that history:  Dad rose from humble beginnings and, while grounded in his Garifuna culture, driven by his unique mixture of intellect, hard work, dedication, love and support of his wife, and commitment to God, he made Belize a better place for Belizeans of all cultures.  And he did it all with grace and humor.  I can just see him now, with a twinkle in his eye, and hear him say in that dry way of his, “Gapureihaditbu-gien, AL“ – “Al, you only could talk good, bwai.” 

“Thanks, Dad.”  I’m really serious, “Thanks for everything, dad.  You were the best role model I could ask for.  Thanks, too, for giving me a ringside seat to the making of Belize’s History. I hope others draw inspiration from your improbable life.  For if you could have succeeded against adverse circumstances, none of us has any excuse for not also working hard and succeeding.”

Theodore Joseph Palacio is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Bridget Palacio nee Marin, and 8 children: Jermaine Francis, Felix, Timothy, Francis, Angela , Allen, Stephen and Sean Palacio. Sister, Olivia Avila and brother, Dr. Joseph Palacio, nieces and nephews including Alberita “Rita” Enriquez, Marjorie Zuniga, Claudia Salgado, Darius Avila, Dr. Vincent Palacio, Aniki Palacio and Arreini Palacio Morgan; twenty grandchildren, three great-grand children and a host of relatives and friends.

 

***

Tribute by Glenn Guitterrez

Watched Over My Dad by Frank Palacio

***

Eulogy by Dr Joseph Palacio

Eulogy for Theodore Joseph Palacio 1930-2012

Introduction

I am deeply honoured and happy to share with you a few thoughts on the life of my brother Theodore Joseph Palacio (1930-2012). Ted was one of the few giants who left a special impact on everybody with whom he came into contact. So, these few words can in no way do full justice to the unique greatness of this humble son of our village Barranco. I am saying at the outset that the tone of this eulogy is not one of suffering. Rather it is one of joyful celebration for a life that has been a lasting breath of relief to all of us. So, if you feel like clapping as I speak, please feel free to do so. It will make me feel happier that you are sharing with me the joy of a triumphant celebration for a life that will always be with us.

Early Life

Ted started his human life here in the Garifuna village of Barranco on April 4, 1930 when he was born to his mother Hilaria Mejia Palacio and father Joseph Pollard Palacio. He grew up during a highly productive time in the village economy. Banana was the main export crop and all families had their own acreage in farmlands surrounding the village. Children, women, and men participated in the cash economy. It was a time of close knit extended families. The Palacios, Nicholases, Nolbertos, Cayetanos, Martinezes, Marins, Zunigas – indeed the whole village shared daily household and farming tasks with each other.

Occupying a central command function in village life was the church state St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School. Even by today’s standards the school provided an excellent education. All the pupils received the basic grounding in the three R’s – reading, writing, and arithmetic together with a rounded introduction to the community socio-economic life as well as to a very rich cultural programme, focusing on music, notably choral singing. Providing leadership in all these skills was the very able Principal Mr. Salvatore Basil Daniels, also known as “SBD”.

Ted’s close knit life as a young man in Barranco came to an end as he early had to contribute to the family well-being. Having done very well in primary school, it was natural for him to go into the teaching profession – actually the only source of livelihood at that time for Garifuna young men in the then colony of British Honduras. As a beginning teacher in St. Peter Claver School in Punta Gorda, Ted was heavily influenced by Pallotine nuns, who came from Germany to lead the Catholic schools in parts of the country. It was under their strict leadership that he continued the early formation in music that he had received under SBD. In Punta Gorda he learned to play the piano and became quite a virtuoso on that musical instrument for the rest of his life.

 

Maturity

As Ted progressed in his teaching career he entered into his own nuclear family life. But first he took full charge of me, his younger brother, as his own son. There were other close relatives who occupied our house in San Antonio, Toledo District for various lengths of time. They included our cousin the late Augustus Palacio, our sister Olivia Palacio Avila and her daughter Rita, and our cousin Iris Palacio. All of us who found ourselves under the household leadership of Ted benefitted tremendously from his strict discipline and heavy focus on the deep value of Christian family life.

Having learned how to handle a family made up of assorted relatives, Ted took the giant but natural step of starting his own nuclear family by marrying his beautiful bride, my sister-in-law Bridget Marin in November 1954 in St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church here in Barranco. This marriage lasted a full lifetime of 57 years resulting in six sons and two daughters.

I will not dwell too much on Ted’s public life as an educator where he was a trail blazer in several areas, that we now take for granted. I am suggesting to his sons and daughters to take the lead and do the much needed research on this important topic. I remain willing to help in whatever way I can in doing the compilation as well as trying to find a publication source, once the manuscript is written. Such a book would certainly be a best-seller. I want to end this topic on my brother’s contribution to public education by saying that his early and thorough grounding got its start here in St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School. I am speaking of his early introduction to the basics of academia together with exposure to community livelihood, and to the cultural arts, especially in music. Among the hundreds of alumni of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School, he is the one who has had probably the most significant impact on education in this Jewel of ours.

Moral Leadership

I turn now to another aspect of my brother’s life, through which he influenced everybody with whom he came in contact.  This is his moral life. By this I don’t mean the personal morality that he consciously maintained throughout his life, which in itself was legendary. I am referring to his sense of doing the right thing at all occasions, notwithstanding the cost and personal sacrifice that are demanded. It also means applying the necessary leadership demanded by the occasion. It is this lack of moral leadership in today’s society – where common expediency is the rule of the day here in our village as well throughout our country – for which my brother was totally intolerant. Unfortunately, it has now become normal for everyone to take the easy way out, especially if it means getting a few extra dollars at the same time and for not doing anything. That was not the life of Theodore Joseph Palacio. When he saw that something needed to be done, he got ready to do it, applying his innate leadership skills to make sure that the task gets done in the best possible way. Now, that is moral leadership!

I will give three examples in which Ted applied this sense of moral leadership. The first, of course, is through the Roman Catholic Church to which Ted remained unequivocally attached during all his life here on earth with us. Probably the best example of his extreme fixation on the Church was his dedication to make sure that this church building, in which we are gathered, be built and equipped with the basic accessories needed. Everybody here will agree that without the leadership of Ted and Bridget together with the Cayetano twins, we would not be standing, sitting, and praying in this church building at this moment. Now, that is moral leadership!

Helping to build the church was the culmination of Ted’s complete dedication to our village. Ted was a Barranguna who loved this village and was always willing to do all he could to improve its well-being. There have been dozens of women and men who have done likewise and whom we should always remember. I list a few starting with women:

·         Dominga Cayetano Paulino (Waganga)

·         Gregoria Anastacia Palacio Loredo (Ponana)

·         Dominga Cayetano (Gadu)

·         Teodora Nicholas (cup and saucer)

·         Anacleta Nolberto (Da Cleta)

      The men include:

·         Santiago Avilez, the founder of Barranco (Gumbou)

·         Clarence Marin

·         Catarino Ariola

·         Candido Arzu

·         Ruben Palacio, and of course, our own UNESCO Artist for Peace

·         Andy Palacio

I am certain that I could have included several more. Indeed, my reason for mentioning these few great and successful women and men is that we have to seriously start giving our heroines and heroes the highest respect for which they had worked all their life. And finally to remember that persons like Theodore Joseph Palacio stood on the shoulders of our own indigenous giants.

            The third area in which Ted demonstrated his moral leadership was on behalf of the Garifuna nation. He was among a few stalwarts who uplifted the November 19th celebrations in Belize City in the 1960s. He was one of a small and talented group of young men who worked on the first modern English/Garifuna dictionary in Belize. He was the leader and inspiration for the Garifuna Choir. While in Los Angeles, he continued doing what he had always done here – providing leadership in Garifunaduo, especially in music and church activities.

            The final area in which Ted demonstrated his moral leadership came during the past several months as he gradually made his transition away from us into the waiting embrace of our ancestors in Seiri. As the illness took more of its toll on him, Ted showed us in his own quiet way how to carry the dignity of dying gracefully while being in severe pain. He was always appreciative of visitors who came to see him and, when possible, engaged them in light conservation. Again, that is moral leadership!

            It has been my deepest honour to share with you these few words of praise to God for the life of my brother Theodore Joseph Palacio. While he lived, he did what he was supposed to do without asking for any reward or word of praise. Now is the time to give him the highest respect and to sing the praises that only he truly deserves. My condolence to my sister-in-law, all the offsprings, as well as to Nitu Olivia, and all the other relatives and friends. Mabuiga Nibugian. Mabuigaña gien hun Baba, Waguchu, tuma woufiri Cota.

 

            MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE AND RISE AGAIN IN GLORY!

 

***

100 Most Influential Theodore and Bridget Palacio

THEODORE AND BRIDGET PALACIO: One Hundred Most Influential
by Angie Palacio

Mr. Theodore (Ted) Palacio spent his working years educating Belizeans and students in the 
Chatsworth, California area.  In a career that lasted over 50 years as an educator, from Sarteneja and 
San Narciso, Belize to Los Angeles and Chatsworth, California, Ted achieved many distinctions.

Theodore Palacio has often been described as a humble, hard-working, diplomatic, easy going, 
humorous person who sees the good in everyone he meets.  He started teaching at the tender age of 
14.  His mother Hilaria Palacio  died when he was about sixteen years old, and as a result, this forced 
Ted to become the adult figure to both his  sister, Olive and younger brother, Orlando.  Because their 
father had to take teaching jobs far away from their hometown of Barranco, Ted assumed the position of 
de facto dad, running the household in their father’s absence.

At age thirteen he completed Standard Six in Barranco Village, Toledo District, Belize.  Also, at age 
fourteen, he passed the1st. Pupil Teachers' Exam then left for Sarteneja where he taught as a monitor.  
Six months later he signed on as pupil teacher in San Narciso earning $8.50 a month.  At fifteen he took 
and passed the 2nd Pupil Teachers' Exam.  After this he taught at St Peter Claver in Punta Gorda.  A 
few months later he passed the Second Class Teachers' Exam. When he was seventeen years old he 
was admitted to SJC for one year of high school.  A year later he passed the First Class Teachers' 
Exam.  He then worked as an assistant teacher in Punta Gorda and later in Barranco.  At age twenty he 
was readmitted to SJC for a year and a half to complete high school.  Theodore graduated from SJC 
with grade 2 pass Cambridge School Certificate.

After graduating from high school, Theodore became the principal of the school in San Antonio, Toledo 
district.  At 24 ½ years he married the former Bridget Marin.  She has been his partner, his best friend 
and greatest supporter for the past fifty six years.  They started having children a year later and are the 
parents of seven children and a grandson, Sean, whom they adopted.   They are parents to all their 
nieces and nephews.  They have twenty other grandchildren and two great grand sons.

At 26, Mr. Theodore Palacio was admitted to St. John's Teachers College, in Belize City, for the regular 2-
year course.  After completing this training he returned as the principal of the school in San Antonio.  In 
1961, at age 31, he pursued a one-year Professional Certificate in Education course at the University of 
the West Indies in Jamaica.  He obtained the latter Certificate and then he taught in Punta Gorda as an 
assistant and part-time at St Peter Claver College.  In 1963 he was employed at Tutor Intermediate 
Teachers' College.

In 1965 Mr. Theodore Palacio received a scholarship to study at the University of Calgary in Alberta, 
Canada for two years.  He graduated with a Bachelor in Education degree from the University of Calgary 
Alberta.  He was then promoted to the position of lecturer at the Belize Teachers' College.  Shortly 
thereafter, he became acting principal of the Teachers College for a month.  He was quickly promoted to 
Acting Vice-Principal at Belize Teachers' College and Acting Principal at Belize Teachers' College for two 
years.  He received another scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts degree at the University of Calgary, 
Alberta, Canada. In 1973, Mr. Theodore Palacio graduated with a M.A. in Education from the University 
of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He returned to Belize and became the Acting Principal at Belize Teachers' 
College for four months.

Mr. Palacio loves the Lord.  He attends mass daily.  He would do his devotional and mass readings 
everyday before starting his day.  This is what he did even as young man.  You will find that his love for 
God is evident in how he treats everyone.  Mr. Palacio also was able to give of himself to Garifuna 
organizations in Belize City.  He was an active member of the Garifuna Council along with his friends the 
late Mr. Silas Cayetano and the late Mr. Mike Daniels to name a few.  He got his family involved with the 
activities of the organizations.  He also formed the first Garifuna youth group, Igemeri, in Belize City.  He 
was able to influence many young people at that time including the late Andy Palacio, the late Tony 
Enriquez, Mary Enriquez, Percy Lewis and a host of others who are now prominent citizens of Belize.

On September 1, 1975, Mr. Theodore Palacio was appointed Principal of Belize Teachers College.  He 
was the principal until he retired from Belize Teachers' College with gratuity and pension on December 
31, 1980.  He taught at Pallotti High School, Belize City from March of the following year until he 
migrated to Los Angeles in 1984.


Shortly after migrating to Los Angeles, California, Mr. Palacio got a job teaching English as a second 
language at Chatsworth High School.  He became certified to teach in the Los Angeles Unified School 
District.  He taught at Chatsworth High School until his retirement in 1997 at age 67 ½.  

In 1995, and shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Mr. and Mrs. Palacio set about reactivating the 
Garifuna choir that had grown dormant. The choir members grew fond of Ted because of his 
commitment and dedication to music, the church, and the community.  They also liked the fact that he 
had a long list of accomplishments and admirers because of his stellar reputation as a man of God. 
Under Ted’s leadership the choir flourished and reached its highest membership ever.  The Garifuna 
Choir helped bring Garifuna people from Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala together as one.

After Ted retired from the LA Unified School District, the Palacios had major decision to make: should 
they remain in Los Angles where life was good and comfortable or should they return to Belize, their 
homeland?  They finally decided that there was “no place like home.”  They returned home and in short 
order noticed that Belize City did not have a “Garifuna Choir.” They immediately began a membership 
recruitment drive and formed the Belize Garifuna Choir which became so popular that in addition to 
singing every Sunday for mass and for special occasions in the community, they are often asked to sing 
for the Graduation ceremonies at St. John’s College in Belize City.  Ted and Bridget are so highly 
regarded in Belize that Bishop Martin is fond of remarking, “if only we had more people like Ted in the 
community, the Garifuna people would be a tremendous force to reckon with!”

Ted is the first to admit that without his wife Bridget by his side, he would not have been able to 
accomplish the things he did.  After noticing that the church in Barranco had grown old, and dilapidated 
and in need of repair, Ted rolled up his sleeves and decided that his home village needed a church 
worthy of God and ‘Barranguna’ present, past, and future.  By this time he was in his seventies, and this 
was probably not an easy task for anyone, much less someone his age.  Ted’s attitude was, “if I don’t 
build the church then who will?”  Fortunately, Bridget was not about to let her husband take on this 
herculean task by himself.  Together this Godly couple rallied the communities of Belize City, Barranco, 
New York, and Los Angeles as well as total strangers and worked tirelessly until the church that was 
dubbed, “the Basilica of Barranco” was built.  Fortunately, this church was large enough and fitting 
enough for the funeral service of Andy Palacio (Barranco’s most famous citizen) to be held there.

God surely works in mysterious ways, as the saying goes, because a little over a year after the “Barranco 
Basilica” was built, Ted’s health started to decline.  He was subsequently rushed to the United States for 
medical attention and underwent emergency surgery to replace a defective heart valve.  Ted is currently 
still in the process of recuperating and we know that the God he serves will continue to bless him and his 
beloved Bridget. Currently, he and his wife are once again residing in Los Angeles, but they return often 
to visit their family and friends in Belize. This is their enduring legacy encapsulated: love of God, 
community and family.

***

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