David Thom Girvan
Josephine Adelela Delevante Girvan
By Gloria Girvan Akin (1922-2003)
Eager, excited, thrilled and with great anticipation, we as a family accept the opportunity to tell the story of the lives of our beloved Papa and Mama, David and Josephine. Do we remember? Yes indeed we do remember! Now as we recall the years we spent with them, memories sweep over us.
Those memories, so loving, vibrant, poignant, humourous, powerful, endearing, modelling and strong are etched and stamped on the hearts and minds of their children and some grandchildren. Amazingly too, our friends, who delighted in being the recipients of their understanding and wisdom, have their own private and wonderful recollections of their own “Father and Mother G.”
We never tired of the many stories our parents told us and despite the passing of time, these remain as fresh as when they were first told.
Though sadly we do not have firsthand the interesting early life experiences of Papa and Mama’s first three children, Thelma, Gaston and Thom, we are blessed that their fourth child, Edna and our cousin, Marie Saunders-Leon, Papa’s niece, have shared some recollections of that time. In Psalms 90, verse 9, (King James Ed.) a significant truth is expressed. “We spend (live) our lives as a tale that is told.” It is sobering for us to realize that we too are daily writing our own life story.We trust that as many of us recall our memories of Papa and Mama, the intricate pattern of their lives so beautifully woven by them will show their “tale as it is told.”
They were very well matched. Both highly intelligent, well educated, independent individuals, yet they achieved a completeness in their love and respect for each other, with a unity of purpose that enabled them to face together the many ups and downs, the good and and hard times, the sorrows and joys of life.
How did they accomplish this? There is no doubt that it was because they shared the same foundational base. Their families knew each other. They had strong Christian values, standard and morals, a joined sense of integrity, honesty, honour, a remarkable concern for people no matter their stratum in life; the fact that they always found some good in everyone; their community service particularly expressed in helping the underprivileged; their uncanny ability in building self-esteem, confidence and vision in developing their potential; their enjoyment in hospitality; their generous and gracious courtesies; their desire to seek peace instead of strife; their art of diplomacy. Above all they placed an importance in love for their family and for the extended family.
In many ways they were years ahead of their times in outlook, relationships and philosophy of life.They were born and lived in another era with another way of life yet they were able to adjust to what we now call the “modern age”of the twentieth century: the amazing discoveries in medicine, in science, in transportation, in communication. They lived through two World Wars and the initial stages of the Nuclear Age; saw the radical changes in international and national politics and in social mores. They kept up to date and avidly followed the news and enjoyed discussions on the local, national and international scene.
We recognize, of course, that with all their attributes they were, after all, only human. They made mistakes. They had weaknesses. However their positives far outweighed the negatives.
Through the research of John Thom McKinley Girvan and the narratives from Girvanopedia we have explored the historical past of Papa’s family. It would be desirable to do the same for Mama’s family in future.
Post Scriptum: David Thom Girvan’s siblings, (children of John Thomas ‘Jack’ Girvan and Jane Thom) and their families:
- Elizabeth Girvan b. 1858: married Ernest Radlein: children: Alfred, Thomas David, Rudolph, Mary, William and Annie.
- Emily b. 1860: died in childhood.
- Mary (Aunt Meme) b. 1861: did not marry.
- Martha Ann Girvan b. 1863: married Herbert D’Aguilar: children: Edith Eugenie, Clarissa, Daphne, Herbert.
- David Thom Girvan (Papa) b. 1868: children: Thelma, Gaston, Mary (died in infancy), Thom, Edna, Beryl, Linnette, John Thom, Gloria.
- Ann Girvan b. 1869: married Emille Saunders: children: Muriel, Eric, Daisy, Lilla, Marion (Marie), Aubrey, Dottie (died as a baby).