Lealand Ovid Barclay

Lealand Ovid Barclay greeted the world in Grenada, the “Isle of Spice,” in the town of St. Georges on Tuesday, June 2, 1931. He grew up in the village of Belmont and was the ninth of the twelve children nurtured by Catherine (aka Caroline) and Arnold Barclay. As a youth, he attended St. Georges Anglican primary school (aka Hindzie), and, in his late teens, went to the Grenada Public Works to learn cabinet making, then known as joinery. At times, he did some woodwork with Dennis Maitland, his brother-in-law, who was a carpenter.

Lealand was an avid cyclist and was given an opportunity by the sports organization of Grenada to turn professional. Just about that time he got an invitation to go to the United States as a migrant worker in the fruit industry. Choosing to accept that invitation, he signed a contract that changed the trajectory of his life.

After several years of fruit picking, Lealand decided to put his cabinet-making skills to work. When he opened Barclay Cabinet Shop, he became the first African American custom cabinet maker in the Central Florida area. He quickly discovered there was a demand for his product, and business boomed. The growth of his shop necessitated the purchase of a larger building. With pride he expanded his business, opening a full cabinet manufacturing facility at 3479 West Washington Street. There he created a place of employment for many, including his sister Lyris and son Peter. He also trained, mentored, and encouraged many young people to enter the carpentry trade.

His was a special talent. He would look at a house and with his imagination, he would design the cabinets, bookcases, or whatever piece of furniture was desired by the owner. He would then return home and draw them to scale, producing an amazing, finished product. His work rivaled those now produced with computer renderings. He was truly a master cabinet maker! After many years in business, he retired and sold the business in 2006. However, his custom cabinetry and church furnishings still serve the needs of families, businesses, such as Sea World, the Southeastern Conference Office and churches, across Florida and beyond. This is a true testament to his skill and workmanship.

Lealand was an avid sportsman and an adept cameraman. He was often found with his camera and video equipment, serving as unofficial photographer at family members weddings and get-togethers. He also loved working his yard and growing fruits and vegetable. He enjoyed caring for his properties and was often found outdoors with his machete in hand.

Additionally, Lealand was a devoted Christian and servant leader of the church. He served as Building Committee chairperson, Finance Chair, and Business Manager. He gave of his best to the Master, serving across all levels of the church. From Youth ministries, where he served as treasurer of M.C Strachan to his generous care for seniors and fellow church members, he was truly a man who gave his all.

As the years went by, Lealand continued to answer the call to serve. In 1999, he, along with a group of friends from Mt. Sinai, was called by then President Roy Brown to plant what is today, Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church. There he also served as building committee chair. He continued using his gifts for the Lord and built the original pulpit and communion furniture, Sabbath School podiums, and teacher’s pew podiums, among other items. In October 2022, he was honored as the oldest male nonagenarian honored during Maranatha’s Homecoming Anniversary celebration. He received his final church honor on October 21, 2023, as a distinguished honoree at Mt. Sinai’s 40th Homecoming Anniversary Celebration.

Alas, the last enemy to fight is death. What a cruel battle raged as Lealand combated various health challenges in the last few years. Gallant was his fight, but on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 he went to sleep in Jesus. Now, he rests from his labor, awaiting the call of the life giver.

He leaves to mourn his wife of 28½ years, Diane Edith Moore Barclay; six children – Mavis Barclay, Peter (aka Livingston) Benjamin, Sr., Dale DeGale, Cynthia Barclay, Sheila Barclay and Ouida Edmondson (Linden); seven grandchildren – Alex Barclay, Genevieve Barclay, Turkessa Hall, Peter Benjamin, Jr., Daisy Benjamin, Maria Wallace (Eric), and Livanstan Benjamin; seven great grandchildren; three siblings–Eden Noel, Jesserine Anthony, Victor Barclay (Marlene); sisters-in-law — Fredericka Barclay, Gennethie Barclay, and Louisa Barclay; brothers-in-law—David Boone and Ernest Boone (Dianne); many loving nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and special friends.

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