NEW YORK – The Caribbean community in New York is mourning the passing of prominent Trinidadian businessman Conrad Ifill, whose Conrad’s Famous Bakery has been a fixture in Brooklyn’s the Caribbean community for decades.
Ifill, who succumbed to the COVID-19 on April 17, was 81.
His Trinidadian wife, Faye Ifill, an elementary school teacher in New York, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), that her husband died at Mt. Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Long Island.
She said that Ifill was first admitted to the hospital on April 3 and tested positive for COVID-19 two days later.
She said the day before he died after “developing breathing complications.”
“He was always a fighter; he had fought every battle,” she said.
“When he was transferred to rehabilitation, we had a glimpse of hope, so, to be told he had to return to the hospital really shocked us. And to be told he died was dumfounding.
“You cannot imagine how quickly this virus can take you down,” she continued. “This is something that changes from one hour to the next; you don’t know. The realization of it (Ifill’s passing) has not really hit us. We’re just in a state of shock.”
Ifill said her husband – who owned two outlets of Conrad’s Famous Bakery on Utica and Church Avenues in Brooklyn – was born on June 10, 1938, on Fun Rose Street, off the main Coffee Street, in San Fernando, in South Trinidad.
She said Ifill “loved baking” and had “a generous heart.”
“It’s the customers who made him who he was,” she said. “He loved baking. He would have us taste his samples.
“With his love and passion, he had a huge heart, he was such a generous person. He gave to all – his generous heart.
“He was giving of his products that he took his pride in,” she continued. “If there’s anything we can take from him was his sense of generosity.”
A note on the bakery’s website says that “Conrad’s Famous Bakery has been baking bread for over 31 years” and that Ifill, the founder and owner, “quit his Computer Data Processing job on Wall Street (in lower Manhattan, New York) to pursue his dream of opening a Trinidadian Bakery.”
Growing up in a big family of seven siblings, Ifill “quickly realized there was never enough bread and, in turn, began to bake his own bread,” the website says.
As an adult, Ifill migrated to the New York and pursued a career in the Computer Data Processing and accounting.
“However, he was not satisfied with this career path and decided to quit his job and pursue his dream of owning a successful Caribbean bakery, featuring Trinidadian favorites.”
Herman Hall, the Grenadian-born publisher of the Brooklyn-based Everybody’s magazine, said that his magazine was “no longer listing the departed, but it has to make an exception for the passing of Conrad Ifill of Conrad’s Bakery, one of our advertisers since 1980.”
Trinidadian Renee Cummings, a former organizer of the Brooklyn-based Miss Trinidad & Tobago New York pageant, said that she “lost a friend”, an elder in New York’s Caribbean community.