On the brittle pages of a worn and delicate ledger are recorded “turnouts”, which date back into the 1930’s. In some cases, the ink is so faint one has to strain the eye to make out the lettering. Nevertheless, it is the bound volume of names of persons long gone.
This worn and faded ledger is one of James Wilson’s most important possessions. It does not only serve as a business record but also reminds the well-known Funeral Director of the many Barbadians who, over the years, have trusted the Downes and Wilson name to give their loved ones a decent and dignified funeral service.
Since the late 1930’s, the establishment was pioneered by Leabert Downes, who later married Marjorie Doreen Babb and together they continued the business that is situated at the landmark site at Eagle Hall, St. Michael, Barbados, which traded as Downes Funeral Home for 49 years. In 1988, under new Managing Director James Wilson, the name was changed to Downes and Wilson Funeral Home and Garage.
Mr. James Wilson – Managing Director
Downes & Wilson caters especially to the needs of the living who are enduring grief and sorrow. The quality of our professional services is unsurpassed and the warmth of our embrace a solace to families who entrust their loved ones to our care.
James Wilson, a trained and qualified embalmer, changed the way funeral services were conducted on the island, chiefly by introducing advanced viewing before the day of the funeral. He made obituaries more reader friendly by humanizing the erstwhile dismal and solemn tone to include more personal expressions of endearment.
The rather negative and mythological concept of burials was also challenged when at the Barbados Manufacturers’ national trade show, BMEX 1984, despite criticism, he set up a display of caskets and coffins that proved quite successful.
This innovative approach continues today. Downes and Wilson is a business that caters especially to the needs of the living who are enduring grief and sorrow.