SAYING goodbye to Petrona Richards Lee, 60, a devoted Christian woman, prayer warrior, committed church leader and loving mother, was a difficult task for mourners who gathered to bid her farewell at the Search of Life Church of God at Collins Close in St Andrew, last Sunday.
Lee died on August 7.
Lee was the wife of long-standing Jamaica Observer employee Egbert Lee.
A number of mourners, including Averdine Lee, daughter; Bishop Morgan, pastor; Clive Richards, brother; Brianna Campbell and Dave Kelly, relatives; Cutie King and Tamara Campbell, nieces; Search of Life Church of God's Missionary Band Choir; and friends Margerine Thompson and Carolyn Miller offered tributes at the emotional farewell service, celebrating the life of the woman who positively enriched the lives of all whom she came in contact with during her tenure on earth.
Averdine, the first to offer a tribute, remarked that it was only by singing a song written by her mother, who was also a former choir director at the church, that she could offer her tribute.
She then proceeded to sing the hymn her mother wrote for the church choir.
A written tribute, read on behalf of Bishop Morgan who was unavoidably absent, recalled Lee as a church deaconess whose life was worth celebrating.
"We are here not for a crying time, but a home-going service for someone very special to this church. She was a wonderful person. Deaconess Lee has been a very hardened member, worker and servant of the church. Her name has never been called for any behavioural flaws for the years that I have known her," the church's secretary, Florence Largie, who read on Bishop Morgan's behalf, stated.
Richards recalled his sister as being a loving person.
"I remember clearly the first time I got to know my sister. She was on my mother's bed with a red ribbon on her head. As a toddler, I ran to my mother and asked her who was that on the bed. She said it was your sister. She was growing with an aunt before I got to know her. Then I asked my mother, 'Where did you buy her?'" Richards said.
He said that his sister, being the eldest of the siblings, was the "eagle who watched over her brothers and sisters".
"When she gave her praise in singing, her voice would activate the whole atmosphere and the glory of God would come down. Her voice would serenade you in the presence of God," he said.
King said she was heartbroken because she'd had plans to visit her aunt the very day she passed away.
"I promised to visit her and I would have arrived just some hours after the time she died. Family and friends, when you hear that a family member is not doing well, do not wait. Find time to spend with each other. We need to break the chain and find time to meet," King said.
Kelly remembered Lee as a cheerful person who was always trying to connect someone with the Almighty.
The remains of Petrona Lee were interred at a family plot located in Top Mountain in Kitson Town, St Catherine.