Selfless in nature, honest, passionate, loving and dedicated to the betterment of people and his country, are how Wendell Johanne Labastide, the former T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) vice president and assistant secretary-general was described at his funeral service at Allen Funeral Home in Sangre Grande, Friday afternoon.
The legacy he left in the various sporting circles was expressed by many, inclusive of former president of TTOC Brian Lewis, Navin Gayapersad, vice president of the T&T Badminton Association, the Shuttleforce pair of Derwin and Nancy Renales who, with Labastide’s help, was able to impact the lives of many in the Valencia/Sangre Grande and surrounding areas in the sport of badminton.
His sister Beverly Labastide eulogised him as an intelligent person with a remarkable ability to retain information, saying because of this, he read the law books of T&T and became an excellent bush lawyer who blurted out advice as if he were a true lawyer.
Outside of that, however, Beverly described her brother as respectable, mannerly, decent and remained humble in spite of whom he rubbed shoulders with.
Renales (Derwin), who shared a personal friendship with Labastide for many years, said he gave more than 40 years of his life to sports, starting as a teenager playing badminton. According to Renales, a former national standout himself, Wendell not only played an instrumental part in the formation of the Shuttleforce Badminton Club but also played a role of father-figure and friend, coach and wardrobe man to many, who needed gear for practice and tournaments.
Renales’ wife Nancy joined the chorus with a glowing description of him as a walking dictionary, and she caused many to smile as she related Labastide’s famous story of catching a fish with a piece of cheese.
Meanwhile, Lewis, who worked closely with Labastide, said his death has been a huge loss to the sporting fraternity.
“Before he was selected on the TTOC in 1997 as a vice president, he was assigned the portfolio of development. He was also assigned to address and deal with affiliate relations and scholarships, a role he embraced tirelessly and unwaveringly and regardless of what you asked him to do, he always approached it with a can-do attitude.
“He had a sense of humour through the many difficult moments, which was one of his characteristics and attributes. Wendell was also a friend, someone you can trust, someone you can confide in and someone you could depend on to give objective analysis and assessment of any situation,” Lewis said.