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Whatever Valda Mattos did she did well

Life Tributes

BY KARYL WALKER walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 25, 2014    

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IT was a sad occasion but there were many moments of laughter inside the St Paul's United Church in Kingston where hundreds had gathered last week Saturday to pay their final respects to stalwart educator Valda Mattos.

Mattos spent all her professional life as an educator, and has taught generations of the nation's finest and brightest women during her unfailing service to Wolmer's Girls School.

Mattos passed away on May 6, after a battle with illness.

She was 74 years old.

In paying tribute to his mother, Leighton Kelly described her as a down to earth woman who was never fussy or liked fanfare.

"My mother was consistently a comedian and her humanitarianism was beyond where you could ever imagine. Material things never mattered to her," Kelly said.

At times during Kelly's tribute he mirrored his mother's comedic nature and the laughter that echoed throughout the church hall was indicative of the woman Valda Mattos was — someone who made others happy.

"She always endeavoured to get things right, hence she married twice. She possessed quick wit and did anything to ensure that her students succeeded.

Mattos attended Camperdown High and Wolmer's Girls' High before attending the University of the West Indies to return to Wolmer's Girls as a teacher.

The school's motto Age Quod Agis means Whatever you do, do it well, and according to Kelly, Mattos was the embodiment of excellence.

"Age Quod Agis was entrenched in her blood," he said.

Mattos also served as the principal of the West Avenue Institute and was a member of the Greater Portmore Primary School board.

Mattos's daughter April Dunn, said Mattos was a strong believer in the power of prayer and would constantly chronicle her thoughts.

"Even at the hospital she could be heard correcting the grammar of the medical staff at her bedside. She was a very happy woman and most of all a teacher to the end," Dunn said.

Mattos's close friend and colleague Patricia Markes was obviously shaken at the loss of her best friend and described her as a remarkable woman with a great sense of humour.

"As a friend she was faithful, reliable, interesting, no nonsense and different," Markes said.

Pastor of the St Paul's United Church Reverend Euthman Wray, expressed joy at having interacted with Mattos and said she was one who made his job as pastor quite pleasing.

"Being Valda's pastor was not a difficult job. I found in her someone who was very resourceful and very quiet. Her legacy will last forever.

Valda Mattos is survived by eight children, 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Her remains will be cremated.

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