Tearful farewell for sisters killed by JUTC bus

ARLENE MARTIN, Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, November 05, 2002    

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IT was an emotional three hours for the hundreds of friends, families and well-wishers who yesterday packed the pews of the Power of Faith Ministries in Portmore, St Catherine for a thanksgiving service for the lives of sisters, Codeon Barton and Terry-Ann Robinson.

Tears flowed freely as the girls -- Codeon, 12 and Terry-Ann, seven -- were eulogised as a high-spirited duo that was loved by all, witty, helpful, loving and dependable children.

"Although she was a child, she carried out her duties like an adult," Codeon's former teacher at Bridgeport Primary & Junior High, Cochita Skervin said. "If God did not send her to earth for no one else, he sent her for me."

"Terry-Ann was an earthly angel, she made a mark everywhere she went," the deceased's cousin, Kayan Clarke said.

Both children were killed in a motor vehicle accident in Cross Roads two weeks ago, when a Suzuki Vitara, driven by Terry-Ann's father, Terry, was slammed by a Jamaica Urban Transit bus near a bus bay.

Terry-Ann, a Grade Two student at the Mico-Practising Primary and Junior High School, was crushed to death while Codeon, a first form student at the St Hugh's High School died from her injuries at the Kingston Public Hospital.

Yesterday, their bodies sat in two pearly white coffins with peach stripes.

"Codeon had a determination to conquer difficult work and that's why she was a straight 'A' student at Bridgeport Primary," Skervin added. "She was a gem, and a high achiever."

Meanwhile, Terry-Ann's class teacher, Cynthia Patterson remembered her as a "tender-hearted and compassionate" student who was "eager, exciting and enthusiastic about life".

"She came to Mico in September of 2001 and never ceased to be a flower that brought joy to all," Patterson said.

"She was resilient, responsible, understanding and sensitive to other students' needs. Her storehouse of hugs and kisses never seemed to run dry," she added.

A group of students from Mico gave a rendition of Celine Dion's Titanic, while the dozens of St Hugh's student who sat on the church's rostrum, sung Kirk Franklin's I Know That I Can Make It.

Several persons in the congregation began crying even harder when Kemoah Wray gave a heart-rendering version of For the Glory of Jesus. The song obviously brought out the emotions in Codeon's father, David Barton, who walked up and cried openly beside her coffin before being coaxed away by family and church members.

But the pain became too much for Barton, when National Gospel Song winner, George Gordon sung his winning entry, My Jesus I Long for Great Peace and Sweet Rest.

For the second time, Barton walked to and cried beside the coffin before sitting and hugging it. However, this time, neither family nor friends could coax him away as he spent the latter half of the ceremony crying and hugging Codeon's coffin.

Meanwhile, the girls' mother, Althea Wright and Terry-Ann's father, Terry sat and tried hard to choke back the tears.

Outside the church, several mourners viewed, as if it was on display, a glass "buggy" that transported Terry-Ann's coffin to the church. The buggy, laced with peach and white roses, evoked memories of the coffin in the fairy tale story, Snow White and The Seven Dwarves. It was attached to the hearse that transported Codeon's coffin.

Bishop Dr Delford Harris, encouraged the bereaved family not to let the "spirit of anger, wrath and retribution" find a place in their hearts.

"God knows best, his peace will pacify," he told the mourners.

"We couldn't see what the future holds for them. We saw them as shining lights, with great prospects. God is a wise farmer, he knows when to harvest his fruits," he said, while encouraging the unsaved to "seek a saviour before you need one".

The bishop also had some harsh words for what he described as some "hog-styled" motorists.

"The hog-style behaviour on the roads must be stopped," Bishop Davis charged. "And whoever is involved in such habits must be brought to the books, too many lives have been taken by careless motorists."

The girls' bodies were later laid to rest at the Dovecot Memorial Park.




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