Jamaican relative of US Vice-President Kamala Harris passes, aged 93Friday, February 12, 2021
Sarah Eunice Newland, a relative of United States Vice-President Kamala Harris, and mother of Sarah Newland Martin who runs the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), passed away on Sunday, February 7, 2021, aged 93.
Newland's grandmother was Sarah Rebecca Harris of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, a direct relation to Professor Donald J Harris, father of the current United States VP and who hails from Brown's Town, St Ann.
The late Sarah Newland was also born in Jamaica, the last surviving of eight children born to the late David Lindo Mears and Alice Mears nee Green. She was a longtime resident of Connecticut, USA before moving to Newport News, Virginia, six years ago.
YMCA's Newland Martin told the Jamaica Observer that her mother enjoyed sewing, baking, cooking and travelling, and was a nursing assistant for 20 years at Southbury Training School in Connecticut. She was also a member of the Church of England.
Newland Martin, a woman with disability and the celebrated face of the YMCA in Jamaica, said she did not meet her mother until age 24.
“But after much discourse, I was able to forgive, reconcile and embrace her. Over the years, we have grown to love each other, which blossomed into a close relationship. Visiting her in Connecticut and she on her visits to Jamaica, I understood the struggles she encountered,” she said.
“Her generosity of spirit to those who she interacted with, both at the workplace of many years and in her community, was unquestionable. I shall miss her dearly. May her soul rest in peace,” Newland Martin said tearfully.
Last year, as the worldwide YMCA marked its centenary, Newland Martin herself hit a big milestone — 34 years since taking the helm of the Kingston YMCA, first as associate general secretary and two years later as general secretary.
She is now a familiar face and the best-known Jamaican associated with the global organisation. For her extraordinary work, she was awarded the insignia of the Officer of the Order of Distinction (OD) by the Government of Jamaica.
The late Sarah Eunice Newland is survived by four children — Sarah Newland of Jamaica, Aubrey Newland of Georgia, Mark Newland of Connecticut, and Colin Coke of Virginia; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. She was preceded in death by a son, Carl Newland.
A private graveside service will be held in Peninsula Memorial Park, Newport News. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations to a favourite charity of personal choice.
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