By Theresa Goodwin
Family members and well-wishers will have the opportunity today to bid farewell to well-known businessman “Sammy” Mohammed Dias who will be laid to rest following a service of thanksgiving at the Barnes Funeral Home chapel.
Dias, owner of the popular Sammy’s Supermarket on lower All Saints Road, died on February 4 after a brief period of illness.
Residents on the island, especially customers who have supported the supermarket since it opened in Antigua in 1979, have reacted with sadness to the death of the 67-year-old, describing him as a generous and humble man who had a natural love for people.
OBSERVER media also reached out to one of Sammy’s 12 children, Saddam Dias, who said the deceased was a very strict parent but a very humble businessman. Dias said his father went into business not necessarily to make money but to assist people wherever possible.
He said on several occasions customers would visit the supermarket with insufficient money to purchase goods and his father would allow them various items for free.
“He was just a humble man, he helped everyone he could. He was so down to earth he drove an old truck for 25 years,” Dias said.
Dias also explained that Sammy, as he was affectionately known, was originally from Jerusalem and came to Antigua and Barbuda with his father in 1965. Sammy’s father operated a fabric store on High Street before deciding to return to his homeland, leaving his young son behind.
Sammy remained in Antigua and eventually took up employment as a cashier at Miami’s Supermarket, which was owned by his uncle. In 1978, the businessman returned to Jerusalem to marry his wife, Saredha Dias, and both later settled in Antigua.
In 1979, he took the decision to venture into business on his own by renting a supermarket on lower All Saints Road, two blocks down from Miami Supermarket. He later purchased the property from the Martin family.
Social media users are also expressing condolences to the family and reflecting on the life of the beloved businessman.
One such person was former Prison Superintendent Eric Henry. He stated that, “he [Sammy], was my very good friend way back in the ‘60s when I was a police officer and he was a young lad working with his uncle or his father in the old Dickie Lake Supermarket.”
Others recalled meeting him as they entered and exited Sammy’s Supermarket over the years.
When my husband came to live in Antigua more than 30 years ago, Sammy helped him to become a creditable welder by sourcing his first welding machine. God rest his soul from Mouché Daniel and family.