The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson




Eulogy James Anthony Dunlock


May 16, 2016

Theodore R. Johnson


James Anthony Dunlock, who went by his second name “Anthony” like many of his generation, was born in Saba on June 30, 1928 in the village of Hell’s Gate in an area known as The Alley.

Anthony was also known in Saba when growing up by his nickname “Dunny”, “Dipper” and “Anta” and was known later in Aruba by his friends as “Uncle Pepe”.

He was the son of Evangeline Dunlock and Donald Dunlock, who carried the nicknames Bum and Brody.

The Saba in which our friend Anthony grew up in was so different to the Saba of today.

Saba then was dependent on agriculture and fishing for its survival and people had to struggle to make ends meet. There was no electricity, no airport, no harbour, no motor vehicles or good roads between the villages. Anthony was already living on Aruba when the first Motor Vehicle a Jeep was brought to Saba in 1947, and electricity only came in 1970, the airport in 1963 and the harbor in 1972, so one can imagine how isolated and undeveloped Saba was and this isolation also existed between the villages as well.

Anthony grew up as a Hell’s Gate man who learned to fish and farm from a young age. Anthony always recalled once when he was a little boy when he slipped off a cliff in an area of Saba known as Great Hole and was badly injured. He carried the scars of that fall for the rest of his life.


Main entrance to LAGO oil refinery where Anthony worked for many years.

Anthony’s father passed away at a young age of 32 in Curacao, when Anthony was only 2 years old. As a young boy he had to work hard to provide for his mother and his sister and had a job with the Public Works department helping to build the road in Saba. His mother got married later on to Eddie Hassell who was affectionately known as “Chex” and who helped to raise Anthony and who had 3 sons with his mother.

The Sabans were accustomed to sail the oceans and would go to sea as cabin boys with Saba captains as early as thirteen years of age. When Anthony was a boy most of the men from the village of Hell’s Gate who were fishermen and farmers would go to Bermuda for work in the British dockyards. When the LAGO oil refinery started up and they required English speaking workers which lead to many Sabans coming to Aruba in search of work and a large number of them remained here for the rest of their lives.


Anthony here with his wife Ceela after she had an operation at Dr. Taams Clinic on Curacao.

Anthony came to Aruba early on with his mother and his sister Maisie. He started working at the Manhattan Store in San Nicolas. He went back with his mother to Saba for a while and after the Second World War at the tender age of 17 he got a job for LAGO as a sailor on the oil tankers between Aruba and Maracaibo.

While working as a sailor he went on a vacation in 1947 to Saba where he fell in love with his future wife Norma, with whom he married in Aruba on June 20th, 1951.

From this union, which lasted 64 years, 2 children were born, his son Steve and his daughter, Browlia.

scan0003 1 (3)

Anthony Dunlock third from left as a groomsman for the wedding of his sister-in-law Tency to Bertrand Rogers.

After several years of sailing, he got an opportunity to work as a LAGO security officer until his retirement after 38 years. He was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant before he retired.

Anthony loved to dance and dress up, or as we say in the Caribbean “dress down”. The farming boy also remained with him. When visiting his home at the Palisiaweg here in Aruba there were many large pots with plants in them and even banana trees producing large bunches of bananas as well as a number of fruit trees. Anthony was always lamenting the lack of rain and the difference in climate between Saba and Aruba.

Although Anthony made his home in Aruba and was very happy with his life on this island, he always had stories of his youth in Saba. When Anthony would tell stories of his youth he would get emotional as he would discuss the lives of people he had grown up with in the village of Hell’s Gate.


Anthony here with his friend Teddy who was a frequent visitor to his home and who did the final eulogy for him.

Just like Anthony, his father was a giant of a man. Anthony liked to tell the story of the sons of a man with the nickname ‘Peter Parrot’. One of the boys had been rude to Anthony’s mother Evangeline, also known as ‘Bum’ as she passed in the road by their house in the English Quarter where they lived. When she told her husband, he decided to come over to the English Quarter from Hell’s Gate to set things straight. When he came opposite the house the six sons of Peter Parrot were hiding in the house. Anthony’s father told them that he did not want to take advantage of the situation so he suggested that instead of beating them up one by one for all six of them come out together so that he could give them all some licks together and he could be back on his way to Hell’s Gate to continue his farming. Anthony would tell that story with relish and would end it with: “my father would be waiting in the hot sun until today for them boys to come out, so afraid of him they were.”

Another story Anthony joked about was the advice he got from his grandfather Anthony Granger known as ‘Lee Tinnie.’ From Hell’s Gate. In those days there were no roads for cars on Saba so each village lived in isolation.

Anthony’s grandfather’s advice to his many children was to never marry a woman from the other side of the island. They speak different to we, they cook different, and they dress different. So better marry someone from your own village and you will be happy that way.’ Anthony would always get a good laugh when he told that story. It’s a good thing Anthony didn’t take this advice to heart, since he married Norma from the village of Windwardside.

Anthony was very fond of his 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. When speaking to his grandchildren in Holland he would always like to say “zeg me maar”. His granddaughter Rachel built a tile pathway in his garden which he was very proud of and never let anyone remove it.

Though he visited Saba occasionally throughout the years Aruba had become his new homeland and he was very happy here.


LAGO oil refinery on Aruba

He kept in contact with his friends on Saba. My uncle Guy Johnson on Saba told me that just a few hours before Anthony passed away that he felt a strong need to call Anthony and the two of them had a wonderful conversation. Little did he know that within a few hours Anthony would no longer be in the land of the living.

Anthony is survived by his loving wife Norma, his son Steve and daughter Browlia and his 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

He will be missed by all. May his soul rest in peace.

  • My son Theodore Reuben Johnson of Johnson’s Notary Services on Aruba gave me permission to post this eulogy. I added the necessary photo’s to suit from my archives. He was laid to rest today May 16th, 2016. Will miss him on my trips to Aruba. His memory will live on with his family and friends.
  • Will Johnson


Single Post Navigation

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: