Isaac Joseph J.P. MATALON

Isaac, affectionately known as Zacci, had a few twists and turns in his life before he found something that he loved: agriculture. As a young man, he joined his father in the dry goods business, but they had a series of failures and he left Jamaica to attend University in Beirut, where he hoped to become a pediatrician. He enlisted in the British Army when the war broke out and while on a furlough, met his wife, which caused him to abandon the dream of medicine. A few years after his marriage, he moved to St. Thomas to help his wife’s aunt run the large coconut and banana plantation they owned He knew nothing about agriculture, but he immersed himself and learnt all that he needed to know rapidly. He was responsible for a number of contributions to agriculture during his lifetime, including the concept of boxing bananas for shipment overseas, the establishment of Serge Island Dairies and the introduction of long life milk. He also served as a member of the Coconut Industry Board and Banana Board, Director and Chairman of Seprod Ltd, Chairman of Jamaica Feeds Ltd, Director of Jamaica Grains and Cereal and then later Director at ICD. Zacci also had an interest in politics and unsuccessfully ran for the PNP in 1959. He served as member of the St. Thomas Parish Council 1960-64, was appointed to the Senate from 1962-1972 and served as the Custos of St. Thomas for a number of years.