For Maurice Jervis, expression is a form of art.
A longtime resident of New Community Orange Senior, Jervis memorizes poems and occasionally recites original poetry during special events.
While Jervis talks in a soft measured tone, his message always speaks volumes.
“He is very open and says his mind in matters of importance, especially during resident meetings,” said Sister Pauline Echebiri, care coordinator at Orange Senior. “He is a gentle senior with a Christian spirit,” she added.
Jervis, 79, is a regular presence not only at Tenant Association meetings but also at educational presentations, social activities and a weekly yoga class for seniors and disabled adults. He was one of the first residents to move into 132 William St. in Orange when the complex first opened in 2003. Jervis said that he appreciated both Echebiri and Property Manager Faye Harvey for “efficiently” handling matters at Orange Senior. “I think NCC is doing a good job,” he said.
Prior to retiring in 1995, Jervis worked as an insurance salesman—for about 10 years at American Life Insurance Company in Guyana and then eight years at Prudential’s offices in Roseland. Born in the capital city of Georgetown in Guyana, Jervis briefly studied accounting before starting his career in the insurance industry. He also devoted 24 years to performing in the Guyana Police Force Military Band. He played both alto saxophone and clarinet but said he preferred the way the saxophone delivers each note.
“I like the alto for expression,” he said.
The band aimed to improve relations between citizens and the police force and performed classical and semi-classical music at ceremonies such as the opening of parliament and Armistice Day events, he said.
Jervis first settled in Brooklyn, New York, when he moved to the U.S. in 1986. He then moved to Newark, however he and his family were displaced after an apartment unit upstairs caught fire. His upstairs neighbor died in the fire, according to Jervis. His family experienced some setbacks after water damaged their possessions. Later he moved to Orange, then to East Orange and eventually settled back in Orange, where he remains an active member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of the Oranges.
In his free time, Jervis enjoys watching boxing and basketball and reading.
“I firmly believe that the cultivated mind is the measure of a man; education is not confined to the classroom or up to a certain age. True education values character more than any other requirement,” he said.
Jervis is the father of eight grown children—six daughters and two sons—who live in scattered locations that include Guyana, New York, Maryland, West Orange, East Orange and Plainfield.