Eulogy for Mineva Lorene Vanloo
Brothers and Sisters, we are gathered to celebrate the life of our departed sister, Mineva Lorene Vanloo.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you some aspects of her life which I gathered through our relationship which began when our families were neighbours at Murrayâs Road in the 1950s and continued when she joined Cansave staff in 1972 and worked during my tenure as director.
Mineva was born on September 2, 1935 to Gershon and Mable Porter. She was the first of seven children (all daughters) with whom the couple were blessed.
Mineva received her education at the Kingdom Anglican Primary School and the Girlsâ High School. In June 1956 she married Grafton Vanloo, an agricultural officer who was stationed at Troumaca, and so the conjugal home was established there. The marriage produced three children: Sylvester, Barbara (better known as Des) and Earle.
From an early age Mineva enjoyed Domestic Science/Home Economics and so she used the move to a rural district as an opportunity to experiment with the large variety of fruits and vegetables that were available. She created recipes which she shared with villagers and which she introduced to family and friends on her trips to the city.
In 1968 the family took up residence in their own home at Cane Grove and Mineva began her active church and community service. She served as:
*The organist for the Methodist churches at Layou, Hope and Chaunce;
*Member of the Methodist Womenâs League;
*Member of the Gideons Bible Society;
*Member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Children Welfare Fund; and
*Member of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society.
When the children were enrolled in secondary schools the family agreed that she would seek employment outside the home and so her assignment as field worker with the St. Vincent Planned Parenthood Association began in 1970 and lasted until 1972 when she joined the staff of The Canadian Save The Children Fund (Cansave) as a Sponsorship Programme officer. This segment of the programme was started to help families whose children had potential, but for financial reasons were unable to access secondary education. Mineva, because of her upbringing and belief in the benefits of good family life, dedicated herself to the task and stretched herself to the extreme to help hundreds of children throughout St. Vincent, many of whom today hold jobs in all sectors of the society and are very responsible partners and parents.
Mineva was by nature very friendly; her gentleness was one of the attributes that helped her to achieve what is known in the social work profession as âThe Helping Roleâ – a feature that was enhanced by her training in social work at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She counselled, advised and helped with family budgets; shared recipes that brought variety to family menus; and more importantly she encouraged the building of self-esteem and she instilled a sense of responsibility in her clients. Her most outstanding achievement with the organisation was during the period 1984-86 when the Sponsorship Programmes were to be phased out and the organisation changed from Cansave to Vinsave. Ways and means were explored to offer assistance to the many families still needing help to educate their children. Minevaâs region included Belmont, Belair, Riley, Evesham, Mesopotamia, Carriere, La Croix and Gomea. Persons involved with the programme came together for training in order to acquire a skill to generate income and thus Bremclag was born under her leadership. In addition, a day care centre catering to children six months to four years plus was started in a part of the Marriaqua Methodist Church Building. This was really an outstanding example of community organization and community development.
Mineva was a capable leader who impacted positively on the lives of the people in the communities where she lived and served. One of her favourite quotes was, âGod gives us our talents to serve Him through service to humanity.â She was a devoted wife and mother, a loving sister, a caring aunt and grandmother, a very good friend. She was never too weary or busy to seek and win souls for Christ. The Methodist Hymn No. 485, âI Am Not Ashamed to Own My Godâ was one of her favourites.
Mineva migrated to Maryland, USA in 1995 to join her daughter and grandson. On the first return trip home in 1996 she informed me that she had taken up membership in the St. Marks United Methodist Church in Maryland where she enjoyed fellowship with the people. I believe that because of her manifested love for God and her fellowman she was appointed a liturgist of that congregation.
Earlier this year she fell ill. She returned home on March 24 and shortly thereafter she was hospitalized. Class No. 27 held a cottage meeting at Sister Marvis Payneâs residence on April 14. What sweet fellowship we all enjoyed! Mineva asked us to join and read her favourite Psalm, No. 121 – âI will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.â She chose a special from Redemption Songs, No. 426 – âTis So Sweet to Trust in Jesusâ and from the Methodist Hymn Book she chose No. 504, âLeave God to Order All Thy Waysâ. Our sister was well prepared to answer Godâs call which came on Friday, 30 April.
Mineva contributed significantly to her time and generation. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. Let us give thanks to God for her life and service and as far as possible let us emulate those qualities of genuine love for people, gentleness, humility and Christian charity which were the hallmark of her life.
To her beloved children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews and other members of her family, I extend condolences and pray that you will find strength and solace in the Divine Master in whose loving arms Mineva is now enfolded, free from all pain and cares of this word.
May she rest in peace.
Delivered by Millicent Iton at the funeral service held at the Kingstown Methodist Church on May 4, 2004