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Alice M. Layne – An Appreciation

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Vincentians crammed into all available pews last Friday evening May 7, at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Flatbush, to pay final respects to their compatriot, Alice Maudestine Layne, nee Quashie, whose body was interred in Kingstown, last week.
A concelebrated mass was conducted by The Rev. Fr. Howard K. Williams, the Rev. Fr. Eric A. Stephens, the Rev. Fr. Sheldon S. Hamblin, The Rev. Fr. Ulric Commissiong-Jones and Canon Leopold Baynes.
Mrs. Layne was born at Mount Pleasant Carriacou, West Indies, the last of eight children of Wilfred “King” Quashie and Elizabeth “Laura” Quashie, nee Alexander.
She grew up in her narive Carriacou to be an active young lady of Catholic interests. She was the leader of the Girl Guides, a teacher in the education system as well as at Sunday school, member of the Church choir, and a talented musician, who played the pianoforte and the organ with equal facility.
She assisted her aunt, Mrs. Helen “Auntie” Rogers, the durable organist at the Anglican Church of Christ the King, Hillsborough.
The young Alice often travelled to neighbouring Union Island and other parts of the Grenadines to provide musical accompaniment at Anglican Church services. It was on one of these voyages that she met a young Vincentian policeman, Newton McGregor Layne. They were married in 1948, and Alice moved to St. Vincent, where the young couple set up house in Barrouallie, the hometown of Newton McGregor. They were blessed with seven children, two of whom predeceased them.
Alice and Newton moved their family to Kingstown in the early 1950s and lived at Edinboro, Middle Street, Paul’s Avenue and the current family residence at Walker Piece, New Montrose.
In her adopted homeland, Alice, affectionately known as “Mama”, continued her natural activism, and social and religious involvement. She was a member of the Mothers’ Union, a seamstress and a music teacher, who passed on her skills to many young people, and played the organ and piano at many Christian events. She was a devout believer, who always shared whatever she had with the poor, the challenged and the underprivileged, in her simple and unassuming manner. She took ill while preparing to go to worship.
After the death of her husband on May 1, 1980, Alice M. Layne joined her daughter, Cecelia, in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1980s, where she resided until the end of her terrestrial journey.
She leaves to celebrate her life, her five surviving children: His Excellency Kingsley C.A. Layne, C.M.G. – former ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States of America and permanent representative to the United Nations and the Organisation of American States (OAS), director of the Office of the General Secretariat of the OAS in the Republic of Suriname and Mrs. Cornelia M. Layne; Mildred E. Layne-Miller of Toronto, Canada and Dr. Justin Miller, Wilfred Layne, M.D. of Pennsylvannia, USA, and Mrs. Yvonne Layne, New York.
Also left, to celebrate her life are eight grandchildren: Lisa Marie, Jayson, Wildon, Sylvonne, Pnutylah, Safiya and Bysshe.
Cecelia and “Maggie” were at their beloved mother’s bedside when she expired at 6:05 p.m. on Wed., Apr 28, 2004.

“Mama. Our Angel”

Mama…. For over 84 years,
You’ve walked, and talked,
What most people would only dream of
You’ve touched, and saved, so many lives!
You’ve been a guiding light to those in the dark.
You were the Mother of all mothers,
And the grandmother of a lifetime…..

Now that you’re gone, you will be greatly missed, by family, friends, and those who only knew you by name, and the many real accomplishments, that you have attained.

You depicted a loving, and caring individual, that only dreamers could imagine.

You are gone………..
I’ll just say that you’re on the other side,
With God, and his Angels, waiting for us to finally come home, and really experience what true Peace means.

There are many angels in heaven, but one thing is for sure, Mama………….
“You are our Angel!”

Pnutylah Layne
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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