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Joycelyn Finella Smith: a well-respected person who loved to cook

Sunday, January 20, 2013    

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THERE are a few things that Joycelyn Finella Smith’s children, relatives and friends will never forget about her: she loved to cook, enjoyed pig trotters and good company, but most of all, she was a sociable person who was well respected in her community.

Congregants celebrating her life on January 5 at Saxthorpe Methodist Church in St Andrew shared fond memories of the educator who, when she retired, was teaching at Kingston Technical High School.

“She was a warm, loving, caring person; an educated woman who worked at the grass roots,” said Smith’s friend of 33 years, Blossom Josephs.

“She liked pig trotters, which she called knuckles, because she was from St Kitts,” Josephs explained, adding that the woman with whom she spent many hours just talking on her veranda, would shout “Fortis!” as a greeting, because her sons, Dr Frederick Smith and George Smith, are Kingston College old boys.

Josephs elicited laughter with many anecdotes of her time spent with Smith and the wide range of topics they discussed, sometimes late into the nights.

Denham Henry of the Mount View Citizens’ Association recalled that “Sister Smith” moved into the community 40 years ago.

“She was an active member of the community, a very sociable person,” he said.

“I used to enjoy stopping by her gate in the evenings to discuss the latest happenings in our noble profession,” he added, before reflecting on Smith’s penchant for baking cookies and her unwavering willingness to cook for community fund-raisers.

“She was a well-respected member of the community,” he said. “She played her part very well.”

Cedric Harper, St Kitts and Nevis’s high commissioner to Jamaica, recalled that he first met Smith while they both sat a teachers’ exam in that eastern Caribbean country.

“While we awaited the interviews before the written papers she was dancing up a storm,” Harper said.

He revealed that Smith was born in a village called Challengers. “She boasted many times that she was from that part of St Kitts where the citizens defeated the Caribs, and so she was a fighter.”

She met her husband in St Kitts and they eventually moved to Jamaica, living first in Harbour View before moving to Mount View in Spanish Town.

“Her love for family knew no bounds,” Harper said, adding that Smith displayed a special affection for children.

Smith’s friend Calene Clarke paid tribute with a rendition of The Holy City, Dwight Richards stirred emotions with You Lift Me Up, while tenor Orville Manning and students from Kingston Technical High School also gave musical tributes.

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