God had a purpose for Ethel Lawrence
LAST Sunday mourners gathered inside the Braeton Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Portmore, St Catherine to give thanks for the life of centenarian Ethel Lawrence.
Lawrence died on March 11. She was 106 years old. Lawrence was born in 1907 to parents Joseph Reid and Agatha Ball-Reid. It was the same year of the great earthquake that destroyed Kingston, and Lawrence often recalled throughout her lifetime that her mother told her the building she was in collapsed but no harm had come to the infant as she slept in a basket.
Lawrence spent her formative years at Morgan's Path in Clarendon and attended the Mount Moriah School in the neighbouring parish of St Ann.
A dressmaker by profession, Lawrence was also a midwife who delivered two of her grandchildren and other children in her community.
Like many rural Jamaicans, Ethel Lawrence relocated to the former capital of Spanish Town in St Catherine and worked as a dressmaker for some time.
While in Spanish Town she met and married Claudius Lawrence, who pre-deceased her.
According to her granddaughter Ann-Marie Virgo, Lawrence was a reliable individual who was willing to give a listening ear and an honest opinion.
"She was someone you could really trust and rely on. Someone you could talk to honestly knowing you would neither be judged nor criticised and you could count on her support, whatever the problem was," Virgo said.
She praised the fact that even though age had limited her grandmother, she still maintained a certain level of independence.
"Even at age 102 she could still string a needle and read her Bible," she said.
Ethel Lawrence is survived by four children, 26 grandchildren, 58 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
Her remains were interred in the Dovecot Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.