End of a generation
by Taranjah Yaw
Rita Edwards Lawrence, the last of a family of long livers was laid to rest on December 12 at the St David’s Anglican Church Cemetery in Chateaubelair.
Her death brought to an end the second generation of the family of James and Margaret Edwards of Catty, a little village situated on the leeward coast between Petit Bordel and Dark View.
Margaret, the matriarch of the family lived to be 105.
Ten of her 14 children survived to adulthood: Seymore, Beatrice, Lenny, Leslie, Myra also known as Mimie, Amanda, Elimus, Odessa, Daymond and Rita.
Seymore, who died in his 90s, moved to Trinidad as a young man and established a family there.
Beatrice was born on December 31, 1906 and moved to Kingstown as a young woman and raised her family there. She died January 26, 2009 at the age of 104.
Lenny died at age 92, while Leslie, who led an active life walking from Rose Bank to Petit Bordel and back each day to look after his animals until his health began to falter after he fell and broke his leg, also died in the high 90s. His daughter Carmen presently lives at Tromauca, she is 91 years old.
Mimie who lived at Fort Hill in Rose Bank had seven children. She died in 1993 at age 93.
Amanda was born on Christmas Day, 1908 and lived at Chateaubelair where she raised her family. SEARCHLIGHT celebrated her 99th, 100, and 101st birthdays with her at her modest home at Cocoa village in Chateaubelair; Amanda passed in 2010.
Elimus died in his 70s in Trinidad, the earliest of the 10 siblings.
Odessa lived at Petit Bordel and led an active live life walking from her home to Chateaubelair twice each week. She died on October 14, 2013, at age 99, two months shy of her 100th birthday, after a brief illness and hospital stay.
Daymond lived at Rose Bank all his life and carried on the family vocation of farming, rearing animals and fishing.
He also led an active life playing drums in the famous Rose Bank Classic Drummers band at funerals and other events up to his late 90s.
SEARCHLIGHT interviewed and featured him on his 100th birthday, he said that his only regret was not being able to work on his farm, he passed quietly at his home last year; he was 104 years old.
Rita, the baby of the brood was born on July 20, 1918. She attended school at Troumaca, then the Kingstown Anglican School when she went to live with her big sister Beatrice in Kingstown.
After she finished school, Rita worked as a domestic worker in several houses then at the Mt Bentick Estate Great House until 1969 when she married Claude Lawrence and moved back Chateaubelair permanently. Popularly known as Tantie Rita, she passed away on December 2, 2020 at the age of 102 years and was buried last Saturday.
With Rita’s passing comes the end of the line of the second generation of the Edwards brood. Many of the third generation are in their high 80s and even in the 90s, but only time will reveal if they achieve the same level longevity as the previous generations.