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Tributes Pour in for Late Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles

For Release Upon Receipt - Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Cherri-Ann-1-14-2019.jpgTributes have poured in from far and wide as The UWI Cave Hill Campus mourns the loss of Dr. Cherrie-Ann Beckles, Assistant Archivist at The UWI Cave Hill.

She joined The UWI family at the West Indies Federal Archives Centre (WIFAC) in 2004, and had been serving as a sessional lecturer in The UWI Open Campus’ certificate in Records Management programme, as well as a guest lecturer in the archives and records management module of the Masters in Heritage Studies. Dr. Beckles earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in History from The UWI. She later gained a Master’s degree in Records and Archives Management (International) from the University College London and a PhD in Archives and Information Studies with a specialisation in Information Rights from the University of Dundee, Scotland.

The University of the West Indies

Professor Alan Cobley - Chair, University Archives and Record Management Advisory Committee

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles after her long and courageous struggle against illness. She was the consummate professional - immensely able, efficient, innovative and dedicated. It was clear that she loved what she did, and undoubtedly she would have progressed to the highest levels of her profession in the region if time and health had allowed. But it was her modest deportment, and the care, compassion and quiet good humour which characterised the way she interacted with her colleagues at all levels, that made Cherri so widely loved at The UWI.

During her illness, Cherri-Ann was an inspiration to all who came into contact with her. On every occasion I met her during that time, she greeted me with that trademark beautiful smile, which did not seem to dim however poorly she may have been feeling. I can truly say it was a blessing to have known her. Through her life and example, she leaves a lasting legacy in the Archive and Records communityboth locally and regionally.

Professor Emeritus Sir Woodville Marshall – Former Chair, University Archives and Record Management Advisory Committee

The death of Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles at a comparatively early age is a tremendous loss to both the University and to the fraternity of archivists and historians. This well-trained and unassuming professional had already demonstrated the qualities of quiet self-confidence, and fully developed the competence and articulateness that define leadership in both the profession and among peers. For my own part, I remain indebted to her for the superb support that she provided me in my administrative roles at both the Federal Archives Centre and at the Barbados Department of Archives.

Sharon Alexander-Gooding – University Archivist

We have lost an archivist extraordinaire, a purposeful but quiet leader, a friend and colleague. She was such a brave and generous person that she continued to share her ideas and proposals for the archives during her trying time at home. Her strength is an inspiration. She will be forever be missed.

Dr. Tara Inniss – Lecturer, Department of History and Philosophy

We have truly lost one of the most professional and conscientious guardians of Barbados’ and the region’s heritage.

Charlene Riley – Campus Records Manager, Open Campus

My sincerest condolences to Cherri’s family and loved ones. I will remember her fondly for her passion for the archival profession, her courage in the face of great challenges and her beautiful personality. May she rest in peace.

Cheryse Gooding – Manager, Office of Recruitment & Marketing Cave Hill Campus

There are only a few people that you meet in this world who are so consistently considerate and genuine that you never have to second guess their intentions or motives. Cherri-Ann was exactly that: a pure heart, always giving positive energy and with only great intentions. She always offered encouraging words and her work ethic inspired you to never give less than your best. Cherri will be missed by all of us - we had the honor of being touched by a beautiful kind soul who left us too soon.

Halcyon Wiltshire-Busby – Assistant Archivist Ag. WIFAC

Cherri has been a great boss, mentor and friend, who inspired my career as an archivist. Her passing has left a significant void in the archives. She was well loved and appreciated by all of us. It was indeed a great privilege to work with and learn from her. She will be sorely missed.

John Aarons – Former University Archivist

We give thanks for her life. By her inspiring work she has set a good example for us and we take comfort in all that she accomplished.

Dr. Stanley Griffin – Former Assistant Archivist

My thoughts of Cherri-Ann are varied, happy, productive and endless. From classmate humour, to jokes over lunch, to late afternoon tea stories, there were always moments filled with laughter. Cherri was always willing to share, advise, mentor and guide in both professional and personal spheres, which has placed me in my current good stead. Her name and work will live on, not only in her many milestone achievements, the joys of family and friendship, but more so in her academic interest and legacy in Information Rights, which will inform the scholarship of future Caribbean archival students. Cherri, you are loved, valued, admired, appreciated and will never be forgotten. RIP.

Malika Sealy – Archives Staff

Working with Cherri was a joy. She was kind, considerate and an excellent mentor. Her smile, laughter and creativity will be sorely missed.

Margaret Broomes – Librarian, CLR James Cricket Research Centre

Cherri’s passing has hit me like a ton of bricks! She was one of the nicest persons I have ever met. She was beautiful inside and out, and the epitome of professionalism. She was always willing to share and help when it came to the business of archives and records management, whenever her work as archivist and mine as librarian crossed paths. Cherri was just a great human being and I loved her! I will forever remember her smile! Sleep in sweet eternal peace my friend!

Carlyle Best – Librarian, Sidney Martin Library

During the weekend I learnt of the passing of our colleague, and dear friend, Cherri-Ann.

I sorrow not, in the knowledge that the burden she carried was onerous. Yet, her pleasant disposition, and willingness to be of assistance never afforded a frown nor refusal. Her cheerfulness was always complemented by a smile, and this is how I will always remember her.

The University of Dundee

Pat Whatley – Former University Archivist, and Director of Dundee Centre for Archive and Information Studies

Cherri was such a happy, lovely woman. We will cherish the wonderful memories of her and the time spent in Dundee with her family when she was working on her PhD.

Caroline Brown – University Archivist

Cherri had an impact on everyone who knew her. She was well liked and respected. There are not many people I would describe as lovely, but Cherri-Ann was one of them.

Alan Bell – Freedom of Information and Compliance Officer

The world is smaller and duller without Cherri. It was a privilege to know her and I’m very grateful to have had that chance.

Local and Regional Archiving and Records Management Bodies/Organisations

Rita Tjien Fooh –President, CARBICA (on behalf of the Executive)

It was with great sadness that we have learned of the untimely passing of Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles on Friday January 11, 2019. Dr. Beckles [was] a member of our Executive Council [and] will be remembered for her dedication to promoting archival education and training in the region. As a member of the International Council on Archives Caribbean Branch (CARBICA) and also the ICA’s University Archives Section (SUV) she was able to influence the development of the profession in the region through the hosting of workshops and conferences. In 2014, she was awarded a PhD in Archives Studies from the University of Dundee, specializing in Information Rights and Archives. We at CARBICA appreciated her role as Chair of the communications Committee, which saw the revitalization of the CARBICA website and newsletter. But beyond her many professional contributions, she is remembered for her generosity of spirit, her willingness to share her knowledge and expertise and selflessly support others through mentoring and collaborations. We have lost a great light in our archival community.

Ingrid Thompson – National Archivist, Barbados

Cherri joined the staff at the BarbadosArchives Department in 1999 as an Archives Assistant. She spent ten years there before moving on to the Federal Archives. Those years were filled with activities and excitement. She was always brimming with ideas and suggestions and was passionate about archiving which was her first love. She came up with the idea that we needed a newsletter for the Departmentand she volunteered to be the editor. Cherri and I spent endless days in the strong rooms listing and describing records. I had finally found someone who was younger than me that not only knew what archives was about but was just as passionate as I was. We had fun times at the Barbados Archives Department, and I was devastated when she left us to go to The UWI, Cave Hill. However, we remained in close contact, and she was always willing toshare information and professional advice. One of the last things she did for us was to train staff in the use of our WebGencatdatabase. Her passing is a great loss to the archival community. May she rest in peace.

Allisandra Cummins – Director Barbados Museum and Historical Society

Cherri-Ann Beckles was a keen spirit and powerful intellect. She will be sorely missed.

International Archiving and Records Management Bodies/Organisations

Margaret Crockett – Assistant Secretary General, International Council of Archives (ICA)

I am sorry to have lost my dear colleague. I knew her as a bright and personable professional and academic. I will always remember and be grateful for her support at the Brussels conference.

Bill Maher – University Archivist, University of Illinois & former Chair, ICA SUV

Working with Cherri was one of the really bright spots of my service to the ICA. Her contributions were creative and served to energise the executive. I thank the ICA and The UWI for making it possible for me to get to know such a fine, inspiring person.


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