Recently I lost a very dear friend, Dr. Cleveland “Fritzi” Eneas, to that dreaded disease – cancer. It was a short illness which ended the life of a good man.
I had known Fritz for well over 40 years and we both watched as our children matured into adults; I became godfather to his daughter Leah and he became godfather to my daughter Lauren and he was known to them as Uncle Fritzi.
At both daughters’ 16th birthdays he sang the song “16 Candles” to them; all his friends that had daughters that turned sixteen, he did the honors of singing to them.
He was a kind and generous soul who gave of himself, helping those who could not afford his service. It was not about him becoming rich; he worked hard to provide for his children and lived a simple life, enjoying his music and time with his range of friends.
Fritz was not a pretentious person because he was a doctor, but a humble man who could go to a bar in Chippingham or a first-class hotel and he could adjust and still be Fritzi. We were both members of Rotary and he gave of himself, helping others, never being too busy to help. From grilling or selling raffle tickets and ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, you could always call on Fritzi!
He was truly a Renaissance man, with friends all over the world who would visit him or he them. Fritzi was always on the go. He shared himself with all his friends.
It’s amazing how all of his friends were competing to say how long they knew him; it seems like he was around forever.
About a year ago he had a hip replacement, followed by another one. Throughout all these operations and discomfort, Fritz never complained – he was not about to let two hip replacements sideline him. He continued his zest for life even if it meant when he travelled (which was often) he was wheeled through airports in a wheelchair.
Before his hip surgeries we traveled on our birthdays, zip lining in Costa Rica, celebrating my 50th in Negril, Jamaica, with our group of friends, or on our many fishing trips with our group of six guys known as “Ma Boys” who met every Friday afternoon either at Nesbitt’s or at one of our homes. We would usually play a game of dominos and Fritz usually came out losing his money!
“Ma Boys” spent much time together and during the Super Bowl we used to heap abuse on him. He said he couldn’t join us because he was going to his brother Judson, because his television was bigger and he had reclining chairs and the best part was that he had popcorn. It is funny, last Super Bowl he joined us at half time. I guess he felt bad for us but we were happy to see him.
I remember the first rake and scrape festival in Cat Island; it was my first and last one but Fritzi continued every year and, despite his failing health, this year he joined his friends Harry Ferrara and his wife at their home and always bragged about the fine food and aged rum he consumed.
He enjoyed spending time with them and looked forward to those trips to Cat Island.
His best friend Garth and Christine Nash went back a long way with Fritzi. It was like a big village where all the children were raised as one and the friendships and many family gatherings at Fritzi’s house in Adelaide were always filled with children and the smell of food on the grill.
Yes, my friend was a Renaissance man to the end. When he wrote us and said the doctor told him to get his affairs in order, it was like someone punched me in the stomach with disbelief. I went to the hospital and saw him. He was on a respirator and told me he had three days before he would leave us. It felt like a bad dream and I was hoping I would wake up, but the reality had set in and the end was near.
Fritzi passed away surrounded by his family and close friends on Saturday evening, August 3.
Fritzi’s brother, Dr. Judson Eneas, and his sister, Dr. Agreta Eneas Carey, were an amazing pair looking after their older brother; and James Carey, Agreta’s husband, was a rock supporting the family.
My boys Paul, Ricky, Andrew, Errol and Norman will miss him terribly and our lives have been impacted by our friend Fritzi.
Rest in peace my brother.
• William Wong is a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation and two-term president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association. He is also a partner at Darville-Wong Realty. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.