On the 18th day of April of 2008, Mr. William Evans Grant Lescano passed on and was laid to rest in Mount Hope Cemetery on the 21st of April of this year of Our Lord. He was lovingly known as “Bobby” Grant to all the people of the Westindian community of the City of Colon.
“Bobby” Grant was born on the 21st of February of 1912 to William E. Grant, an immigrant from the island of Barbados, and to Albertina Lescano, a native Spanish speaking Panamanian citizen. Bobby was born and grew up in the district of Calidonia around the area of Müller Building, a well known local landmark for what had been a Westindian enclave since before the declaration of Panama as a Republic (1903).
Bobby Grant was the youngest of five siblings comprised of four sisters and one brother, all supported by Mr. Walter Grant’s barbershop situated on Central Avenue and 24th Street near Panama City’s downtown “Little Market.” Walter Grant’s barbershop was the only barbershop that served the Westindian clientele in the entire Republic of Panama. In its heyday of the first four decades of the twentieth century his establishment attracted clientele from the Westindian community not only from Panama but from other areas of Central America and the West Indies. It was a friendly place as well as a meeting spot where people could leave oral messages and notes and where long lost friends and family members could be sure to reunite.
Bobby was educated in one of the popular “English Schools” run by Teacher Killimott, a Jamaican. He went on to work at the docks in 1922, then on Lock #6, and then at the Ft. Sherman Coffee Shop. He’d be around seventeen years old when he would get his first real employment and he would hold various other jobs until he was employed in the hospital in Colon for many years. His last job and the place from which he was retired was at the Gatun Locks.
Pleasant memories as a family man and a friend, co-worker and as a Silverman resist all efforts of erasure from the annals of our history in the Republic of Panama. Bobby Grant, above all, was a gentle man and a kind friend to all who knew him, and he was more than a stepfather to me as he was ever willing to support me emotionally and financially in my adolescent years. We, who have survived William Evans Grant Lescano, have inherited a banner of exemplary conduct that has left a deep spiritual imprint on our character as the “Silver People” of Panama. Bobby Grant’s 96 years of a blameless life will not be soon forgotten.
The uniqueness of our Panamanian heritage makes us today the vanguard of patience and perseverance as it did with our forefathers. To them all we pray, “Rest in the peace of our God until we meet again.”
This story continues.