A giant sleeps tonight
“I shall pass this way but once…” – Etienne de Grellet
In the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday marks an extraordinary occasion — the beginning of Holy Week. For so many who knew Dr. Judson Frazier Eneas, Palm Sunday will now forever memorialize the end of a life well-lived by a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and colleague.
Shortly after midnight on Palm Sunday, his family and friends, who had been praying incessantly for his recovery, sadly learned that Dr. Eneas had succumbed to his week-long war against COVID-19, an insidious pandemic which, to date, has infected millions and has killed more than 160,000 at the time of this writing.
As one who had achieved so many firsts in his personal, professional, and civic life, Dr. Eneas was the first Bahamian doctor to lose his battle to this pernicious pandemic.
This week, we would like to consider this — who was this giant of a man who has gone too soon?
Judson Eneas, who died just two weeks short of 74th birthday, was born on April 18, 1946 to Dr. and Mrs. Cleveland Eneas.
Judson followed his father, a renowned dentist, in the medical profession.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fisk University in 1967, which is where he met his future spouse, Marcheta Joyce Q’McManus, who joined him in holy matrimony on June 20, 1970.
Judson and Marcheta were incredibly proud parents of their three accomplished children: Kashta Kandia Eneas, LLB; Judson Picot Eneas, MA; and Kemba Eneas Walden, LLB.
After earning a doctor of medicine degree from the University of California, San Francisco, in 1981, Dr. Eneas practiced medicine in that city for several years before returning to The Bahamas in 1984, where he worked until his death.
Dr. Eneas was a prominent nephrologist who established a dialysis unit on Soldier Road.
He was a medical pioneer and a founding member of Doctors Hospital.
Many of his patients described Dr. Eneas as a caring, attentive, thorough doctor who developed close personal relationships with many of them.
He also mentored many young doctors who returned to The Bahamas to practice their vocations after completing their medical training abroad.
A man of deep faith
Dr. Eneas developed and demonstrated a deep and enduring faith, to which he unabashedly testified.
His email footer, which bore the Biblical verse, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever,” (1 John 2:17), exemplified and accentuated the depth of that abiding faith in and devotion to his creator.
Dr. Eneas’ wife, Marcheta, in a heartfelt message after Judson’s passing, observed: “We had daily rituals. Early in the morning, we discussed plans for the day, and we read scriptures. Then [Dr.] Eneas prayed from a prayer list for anyone who he knew had needs. He was also serious about praying for his detractors.”
His love for the Boulé
In 1904, a small group of successful American men of color, who had distinguished themselves in their community but who were excluded from the mainstream of American society, met to form Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Members of the Boulé (individual chapters of Sigma Pi Phi) are called archons and their spouses, archousai.
The idea of establishing a chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in The Bahamas was hatched by Dr. Eneas, along with his father-in-law (an archon), Past Sire Archon Robert Harris (San Francisco) and Bahamian accountant William Wallace.
On February 5, 1994, a group of Bahamian men, led by William Wallace and Dr. Eneas, took a bold step by forming Delta Lambda Boulé, at that time the only international chapter of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Other founding members included prominent personalities from Bahamian society: doctors Patrick Roberts and Barry Russell, hotelier Robert Sands, insurance executives Alpheus Finlayson and Philip Russell (deceased), engineers George Cox and W. Carver Grant (both deceased), architect Patrick Rahming, accountant L. Edgar Moxey and the late Archdeacon William Thompson, along with others.
Today, some of Delta Lambda’s archons include Sir Arthur Foulkes, former governor general of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; former Deputy Prime Minister and current Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Philip Brave Davis, QC; Sir Franklyn Wilson; and Dr. Rodney Smith, University of The Bahamas president.
During his 26 years in Delta Lambda Boulé, Archon Judson Eneas served as the sire archon (president) and grammateus (secretary).
In 2017, he was elected the sire archon of the Southeast Region, which is the largest of five regions of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in the United States, The Bahamas and the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year, this quintessential archon, who loved the Boulé, was nominated to serve as the Sigma Pi Phi’s grand sire archon-elect (international president-elect), a position he planned to contest at the fraternity’s upcoming Grand Boulé (international conference) in Nassau this summer, the first such meeting to be held outside the United States of America in its 116 year history.
However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that conference was postponed to 2022.
The Gentlemen’s Club
In October 1991, Dr. and Mrs. Eneas hosted a group of professional men and women in their home.
From that effort, the Gentlemen’s Club was formed.
Guidance counsellors at various public and private secondary schools selected young men to participate in the Gentlemen’s Club. The young “gents” were mentored for 14 weeks in informative, life-transforming Saturday afternoon sessions.
When Delta Lambda Boulé was formed in 1994, that organization promptly adopted the Gentlemen’s Club as its community responsibility and has sponsored the club ever since.
To date, more than 1,500 Bahamian high school males have passed through the Gentlemen’s Club.
Graduates from the program have been awarded more than $5 million in scholarships to Fisk University, Morehouse College and Saint John’s University in Minnesota and other universities and colleges.
Many Gentlemen’s Club graduates have attended various universities and colleges in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
They have returned home, becoming distinguished and contributing citizens of our community.
Following the announcement of Dr. Eneas’ untimely passing on April 4, 2020, tributes poured in from all over the world from those who had come to know this renaissance giant.
On Palm Sunday night, under the leadership of Grand Sire Archon (international president) Gregory Vincent, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity hosted a ZOOM conference call, including more than 120 archons from the United States and The Bahamas, to pay tribute to Archon Eneas.
It was a memorable, heartfelt, moving and inspiring event that accentuated the enormous contributions to the Boulé of a giant who had fallen asleep in death.
Earlier that day, Vincent paid tribute in an email to the fraternity’s 5,000-plus members.
Grand Sire Archon Vincent vividly captured the solemn moment: “It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of Archon Judson Eneas, yesterday from complications related to COVID-19.
“Archon Eneas was a Harvey Russell Fellow with the Boulé Foundation and served with distinction as a charter member and sire archon of Delta Lambda Boulé, sire archon of the Southeast Region and candidate for grand sire archon-elect for the 2020-2022 biennium.
“He was a quintessential archon, a renowned physician, loving husband, father and grandfather and a most gracious host. He understood and exemplified the ‘Boulé spirit’ and sought to get to ‘know the best of’ each archon he met during his illustrious 26 years in the Boulé.
“It was inevitable that this horrible pandemic would fatally impact Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Yet, this hits close to home and is a devastating loss to me and all who knew Archon Eneas. It was an honor to serve with Archon Eneas on the Grand Executive Committee, and I will cherish all of the moments that I enjoyed his joyous fellowship.”
Archon Judson Eneas continually strived to know the best of his fellow archons, both domestically and internationally. He fervently and unceasingly ascribed to the belief that each archon in this life may to their full ability aid the other and, by concerted action, bring about those things that seem best for all that cannot be accomplished by individual effort.
Dr. Eneas’ legacy will be indelibly and perpetually etched in the hearts and minds of those he touched: his family, patients, professional colleagues, friends, archons and archousai, graduates of the Gentlemen’s Club and many others.
Archon Eneas’ lifelong mantra can be strikingly summarized in the words of Etienne de Grellet, who once observed: “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Dr. Eneas left this world the same way he entered it: alone, surrounded by his medical caregivers.
During the time that elapsed between that exuberant entrance in 1946 and his elegiac exit on April 4, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, Dr. Judson Eneas walked with kings, but never lost the common touch.
He filled “each unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run”.
He suffered each setback with savoir faire, confronted each challenge with confidence and strode life’s stage with poise and panache.
But now his time to rest has come, and this inimitable giant sleeps tonight.
On behalf of all who knew you, especially your family and the archons and archousai whom you so dearly loved, rest in peace, brother.
• Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.