Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Silbert Billouin - Jamaica Plain Success Story

Mr. Sil Billouin Jr.

Sil and young daughter Angelique.

Father and daughter.

On February 13th, I posted a story about Silbert "Tink" Billouin Jr., who was voted President of my brother's Mary E. Curley graduating class. Through the magic of the Internet, I've heard from Silbert's daughter Angelique, who has been kind enough to continue the story where I left off.

After getting out of high school, I came along. My mother was 18, he was 19. He followed his dads foot steps in sales and was a top achiever in everything he did. He was commissioned sales so he made a good living and was able to send me to private school, beaver country day school, Newman prep school and Emerson college. We lived at 9 Sheridan and then moved to 41 Sheridan street in jp. When his dad died, I moved in with his mom (my grandmother ) next door and lived with her for most of my teenage years.
They packed up and moved to Navarre Florida in 1989. Him, my mom and my brother Max. Max was then 9 years old. I stayed in Boston and tried to make it on my own. A year later I moved in with them in Fla. The rest of his years were pretty significant. He started out working for Cellular One in cell phone sales. He moved his way up in the company and eventually opened his own retail store, Tri County Cellular where he sold cell phones and pagers, He was best known for his involvement with the local area optimist club and the Navarre Youth Sports Association. He was a big part of the lives of the youth in the area. When they got to Florida, he no longer went by "Tink". His professional name was "Sil" or as the kids called him "Mr Sil".
I always remember him being happy and positive no matter what. When asked how he was doing he would always reply that he was "filled and thrilled with divine power, energy and enthusiasm".
In 1998 he was diagnosed with colon cancer and battled it for 3 years. At some time in those 3 years he decided he wanted to be a motivational speaker. He never got to do a presentation, however he did get to talk at my Avon sales meeting about his life experiences and successes in sales and marketing.
When told he had 4-8 weeks to live, he got on a mad dash to get everything in order. He created his final will, and his own program for his funeral service. Hi passed away 2 days after thanksgiving 2001. The local community merchants had signs on there marques saying "we will miss you sil" My mother, Joyce Billouin and brother Max still reside in Navarre Florida.
All of the Billouins except for 2 cousins moved from Jamaica Plain to Florida. Our family was a prominent part of Jamaica Plain and I did not even realize it until reading your blog. I was always told that as a child, but was too young to understand.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

General William Heath

Memorial to General William Heath, Forest Hills cemetery.

While driving around the west edge of Forest Hills cemetery, I came upon this monument to Roxbury's (and Jamaica Plain's) own General William Heath. It's difficult to see from the photo, but the monolith is a large one, standing taller than a man. At that size, it's quite dramatic, but unfortunately it is not particulary well located. It stands along the outer road, facing out and away from the rest of the cemetery, seen properly only by cars driving by.

The Heaths were among the first settlers of Roxbury, and farmed the land between Parker Hill (and Heath street) and today's Centre street, between Hyde and Jackson squares. General Heath was actice in the militia, and served under Washington during the war. He died in 1814, which makes me wonder where he was originally buried. Forest Hills was not opened until 1848, so if he is interred at the site of this monument, he must have been moved from elsewhere.

I left the photo full size: click on it to read the plaque.