The cover of ‘Toots’ Hibbert’s funeral programme declared that the Hibbert family was “celebrating the life of a legend”, but in reality, there was little to indicate the legendary status of the man for whose life few had gathered to give thanks. In life, the internationally acclaimed ska, rocksteady, and reggae icon Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert enjoyed the musical stature of a giant, but in death, that stature was not reflected.
Owing to COVID-19 restrictions on funerals, the service was held on the grounds of Perry’s Funeral Home, in its chapel. All protocols were observed; chairs were placed feet apart, all mourners were in masks, and a Perry’s employee was assigned to wiping the microphone each time it was used. There is no doubt that Perry’s team played their part in trying to make this send-off one that was befitting. The chapel was decorated in red, green, and gold, and a picture of Toots adorned the entrance, while on the outside, a speaker resounded with songs from the legend’s extensive catalogue. The male team members looked sharp in their red, green, and gold bow ties, which were specially designed to be worn at Toots’ thanksgiving.
“Toots is an icon. Everybody wanted to do this funeral, and the family chose us, so we are grateful for their faith in us, and we are ensuring that this legend is given the best treatment,” Perry, a great fan of Toots, told The Gleaner.