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Businessman, Musician and Seafarer Cardinal DaCosta: A life of service to country

Local News 04 Mar, 2024 Follow News

Cardinal Dacosta performing live

Businessman and Singer Mr. Cardinal DaCosta has passed away.

By Stuart Wilson

Caymanian business pioneer, Musician, Seafarer and family man Cardinal DaCosta passed away on 17th February, 2024 at the age of 88.

Born on March 1935 and hailing from the Newlands area of Grand Cayman, Mr. DaCosta was best know for establishing Puritan Cleaners, an enterprise which has endured the test of time and has been in business for over 66 years, serving the dry cleaning needs of the Cayman Islands since 1958. 

In addition to being a pillar of the business community, Mr. DaCosta was a well known musician, who played the guitar and harmonica in addition to being a renowned vocalist whose song, “Pieces of Eight,” was a massive commercial success both in the Cayman Islands and regionally.

Another release from Mr. Cardinal Da Costa, “Dockside Guide” was also well received. His trademark baritone delivery and singing style can also be heard on the Puritan Cleaners radio ad on local stations promoting the enterprise.   

The Caymanian Times spoke with his eldest son, Mr. Mobrey DaCosta about his father’s legacy and the awesome task of walking in his footsteps that lies ahead for the family and business.

“He was still taking an active role in the business all the way up until the end and would call during the day or night and even wanted to cut another record at some point,” said Mobrey, who added that

He added that after Covid-19 in 2020, Mr. Cardinal had taken a more hands-off approach and allowed his children to run the business.

Of the five children and loving wife Joy DaCosta, left to mourn Mr. DaCosta’s passing, his son Mobrey is still directly involved in running the business his father built.

He explained that during his father’s time at sea, which commenced at the age of 19, Mr. Cardinal DaCosta was responsible for painting, in addition to oiling the pistons.

His first experiences into the cleaning business began some years before that, at the age of 14, working for Mr. Clayton Merren on North Church Street.

“They were doing painting and pressing there and back in those days they used paint thinner to get rid of stains,” said Mobrey, noting that after saving up money from his time at sea, Mr. Cardinal returned to Grand Cayman and used his savings to launch Puritan Cleaners.

At the time, people were wondering who would fill the void after Mr. Clayton Merren and since Mr. Cardinal had experience in that business, he decided to take up the mantle.

The company started out on North Church Street, where the Rackams Pub is located today.

In 1984, as the company was growing, the decision was made to move to Eastern Avenue, where they are located today.

During the years of growing Puritan cleaners, Mr. DaCosta was somewhat of a visionary, realizing that hotels in Grand Cayman would need industrial cleaning services before the service was available anywhere else.

“He had faith that the hotels would need the service and due to his experience in the business, he had a hunch that this was a void that would need to filled,” Mobrey remarked, adding that his father was a very determined person who would purchase all the necessary equipment and go to America to inspect machinery and make upgrades when necessary.

“He managed to do all of this while raising five children,” he remarked, noting that because of their upbringing and watching their father, he and his siblings were able to learn the value of a dollar. 

“We will definitely continue in the path he set, of innovating and renovating and our goal is to continue to make the business more environmentally friendly and continuing to train staff,” Mobrey explained. 

Other members of the business community commented on Mr. DaCosta’s kind words of advice and the example he set, telling the Caymanian Times that he always encouraged them and would tell them to stick with their business in the toughest of times and to keep adapting and believing in themselves.

 A member of the Seafarer’s Association for many years, Mr. DaCosta was also very active in the community and the impact that he has left on the Cayman Islands will be felt for many years to come.

Known for his stick-to-it style of approaching business and life, personal drive and initiative and love for the Cayman Islands, Mr. Cardinal DaCosta’s legacy is a portrait of a lifetime of hard work and commitment to family and dedication to country.

Ralph Lewis, Caymanian Times Publisher and family friend noted how his wife Joy held his hand right up until the end and was an integral part of his journey and success.

The funeral service for Mr. Cardinal DaCosta will be held on 16th March at the Baptist Church in Newlands (near Pedro St. James). Viewing is scheduled from 1pm to 2pm.

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