His was a final service of thanksgiving that commanded the attention of Kittitians of all walks of life. It is only the mantle of a gifted and generous soul like Star Browne that was able to cause the national Assembly of the country to adjourn, to allow parliamentarians from both the government and opposition benches, to attend the funeral.
Almost the entire Federal Cabinet was in attendance, along with football officials, coaches, present National Football Players, close friends, relatives and contingents of overseas officials, including those from Antigua & Barbuda.
Tributes were presented in song, speech, video and photography. They all spoke glowingly of Star the man, the footballer, the youth, the husband, the friend, the son and Star the debater.
He was eulogized by his former teacher, coach and colleague, President of the National Olympic Committee of St. Kitts & Nevis, Mr. Alphonso Bridgewater. Said Bridgewater in his masterpiece, “Elvis “Star” Browne spent a great deal of his formative years in the company of seniors—persons several years older than he was. Even then, he had the knack for engaging his elders in meaningful debate. And you know one did not have to give “Star” an excuse to talk.”
He continued, “Star relished a debate—or argument—especially if it was sports-based or political. But to give him his due, he avoided this debate/argument with some individuals. He grew to be able to make the distinction as to when it was worth the while.”
The Olympic President stated, “Something tells me that he was prone to stammering. However, I never discerned any stammering when the argument/debate centred on football, the exploits of Super Stars Football Club; the virtues of De Village Community, the genius of Tudor Dasent or politics.”
Tudor Dasent himself has admitted, while giving an interview to WINN FM, that Star Browne was, as far as he Tudor was concerned, the best football coach that the island of St. Kitts has ever had. This coming from a football icon like, fellow Villager, and former National Player Dasent, is indeed one of the highest honours that the late Elvis Browne could have been given.
Bridgewater too admitted that Star became one of the most highly admired regional sports administrators, a respected, knowledgeable and successful coach and an extremely well decorated athlete.
Bridgewater told the congregation at the St. George Parish Anglican Church on Cayon Street, that as early as a primary school child, “we knew football was destined to be a passion of his. For even with a stumped toe, he would escape the vigilance of Mom and still go to play with the stumped toe. Later in the evening, the pain would set in, to his discomfort. Yet, that did not prevent him from repeating the same routine the following day. Eventually, it took seven injections to rid him of the pain and worry of the stumped toe. He never got another stumped toe.”
“Star was the ultimate comedian—when he so chose. His sense of humour and knack for heckling were matchless. But he gave as much as he took. His shoulders were broad and his skin was thick.”
Football was his platform. De Village, Warner Park, BHS Grounds, the stadia of the CFU Region and wider afield were his plazas. His character was his posterity, said Bridgewater.
Bridges, as the Olympic President is better known, stated that “A pivotal season of Star’s life was typified by an appetite for service. Service to family, service to friends, service to the vulnerable, service to schools, service to community, service to country and service to region. Star’s humility often meant that a substantive proportion of his acts of service did not make the headline news but those who were the beneficiaries found ways to be grateful. A lifetime friend puts it demonstrably well, he was gifted and generous.”
Elvis Browne died on Tuesday 20th September, after a long illness that took a dreadful turn late September, resulting in his death, while hospitalized at the Joseph N France General Hospital in Basseterre, a stone’s throw away from the village in which he was raised. He was buried right next to his mother who pre-deceased him some years ago.
One of the tributes read at the service came from Star Browne’s closest childhood friends, who said in their farewell message:
To many, Elvis “Star” Browne was a footballer or a coach, but to us, he was a friend. He was a like a brother. His death therefore has brought much sorrow and pain.
Ours was a friendship that lasted four decades, spanning our primary school days when we were young innocent children, growing up in Greenlands, McKnight, Newtown and Dorset/Soho. As we matured into teenage life our summers were filled with cricket, fetes, football and more football. Greenlands Park was our “stadium” whenever the bigger guys from Chelsea Football Club would allow us.
We had great fun arguing about the latest Bob Marley albums; who would win the Football World Cup; and whether Ellie Matt was better than Sweeney. The loudest mouth amongst us would always be Star’s. And boy could he argue in defence of his point of view.
But he was also very loyal and caring to his friends. When you were wrong in some action or words spoken to another in our group, he would not hesitate to tell you, but respectfully and many times quietly.
For us as teenagers and young adults, life could not be better, especially at Christmas and carnival time. Oh, what fun we had behind the steel bands, brass bands and attending the shows! Staying out late at carnival was a big treat for us, because we would make sure to enjoy the partying at City Gate Night Club on Fort Street. We were always together as a group; hardly seeing one and not the full pack.
Now death has struck and permanently removing one of our brothers from the fold. It was and remains a fold that despite our graduation into manhood, family life and career, the bond survives as a bastion of loyal friendship, love, respect and admiration.
As we witness the closing of this chapter, we do so in the knowledge that we have many fond memories on which to reflect. These are the precious moments that would forever be planted in our hearts and minds, giving us the courage to carry on and the confidence that he, Elvis “Star” Browne, now watches over us.
Goodbye Elvis. Goodbye “Star”.
We extend to his family and relatives, our deepest sympathy at this hour.
Charles Morton, Trevor Blake, Val Henry, Chris Martin, Dr. Trevor Simmonds, Ingleton Liburd, Dunstan Laplace, Graeme Nelson, Basil Hartman, Michael Pennyfeather, Carlton Hanley, Shakespeare Southwell, Dr. Nigel Leader, John Jeffers, Darrington Govia, Louston Hamm, Kennedy Phillip (Deceased), Elvis Bart, Darryl Bagnal, Bernard Canning-(Deceased).