Remembering Jay Williams and his Legacy of Love and Leadership

Jermayne (Jay) Ronny O’Neil Williams, affectionately known as Jay, was laid to rest on Saturday in Ajax. Friends, family, and colleagues gathered to celebrate the life of a man who was not just a cherished friend and beloved family member but also a mentor, educator, and influential figure in his community at Verity Centre for Better Living in Pickering.

Jay Williams

Jalese, a close friend of Jay, tearfully remembered him as a joker and a giver of tough love. “He always kept it real with you, even if you didn’t like it,” she said. Jay’s honesty and straightforwardness were traits that, though initially hard to handle, were deeply appreciated for their sincerity and the genuine care behind them.

Jay’s impact extended beyond his immediate circle, as Jalese admired him not just as a friend but as a role model. “Many people looked up to celebrities, musicians, or athletes, but I looked up to two people, and Jay was one of them,” she shared. His passion for his career, his dedication to his students, and his relentless drive were sources of inspiration.

Jay’s aspirations were always lofty. He aimed to be a principal and then work closely with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to enact change on a larger scale. “But they say when you tell God your plans, he laughs,” Julese mused, reflecting on how Jay’s influence reached far beyond what even he had imagined. His legacy as one of the most influential Black men in the city, and his impact in America, were testaments to his extraordinary journey.

As a community, Jalese emphasized the importance of continuing Jay’s work to ensure his legacy lives on. “It starts with a conversation,” she said, urging everyone to carry forward his spirit of positive change.

Jay’s brother, Shane Williams, shared his profound admiration and love for Jay, who he saw as a father figure and idol. From teaching him how to tie a tie to celebrating every milestone, Jay’s presence was a constant source of guidance and support.Shane‘s vow to cherish their conversations and memories is a poignant reminder of the deep bond they shared.

Arun Chetram, one of Jay’s first friends, spoke of their shared values and experiences, from excelling in the classroom to their commitment to family. Jay’s work ethic, authenticity, and compassion were highlighted as the qualities that set him apart. Chatram’s hope for his daughter to find a friend like Jay is a testament to the lasting impact Jay had on those around him.

Raisha Senior-Pinnok, Jay’s cousin, shared an intimate glimpse into their sibling-like relationship. From childhood adventures to adult confidences, their bond was unbreakable. Raisha’s heartfelt expression of loss and love captured the profound impact Jay had on her life and the irreplaceable void his passing has left.

As the community mourns the loss of Jay Williams, his legacy of striving for greatness, his unwavering love, and his dedication to making a difference will continue to inspire and guide those who knew him.

The full story will be in this week’s issue of the Caribbean Camera