Losing a family member, regardless of age, could be quite heart-wrenching much less losing three in quick succession.
That’s the ill-fate of a close-knit Vincentian family in New York, who, within a month, has been forced to mourn their losses.
Brooklyn resident Adonna Lewis Dudley told Caribbean Life over the weekend that she lost her father, John Ethelbert Lewis, the husband of her mother, Gloria Lewis, former St. Vincent and the Grenadines national netball star, on April 23. Mr. Lewis was 90.
Adonna also said that her uncle, Randolph “Rudy” Browne, Gloria Lewis’s elder brother, died on May 9. He was 89.
Then, on May 20, Adonna said her aunt, June Lewis, also known as Norma Glenn, Gloria Lewis’s youngest sister, went to the Great Beyond. She was 83.
“Aunt June – that emptiness can never be filled,” Adonna said. “She was very open and kind-natured, not judgmental.
“Uncle Rudy and Dad: two greats, who lived life to the fullest,” she added. “They did what they wanted, sowed many seeds, and you would hate and love them at the same time.
“The death of three family members in quick succession is a lot to endure, as we are faced with caring for the remaining siblings, who are our senior saints, and are experiencing such deep grief,” Adonna continued. “We are a very close-knit family who, throughout the (height of the) pandemic, did not lose anyone.”
She disclosed that her dad and uncle were, “for years, living and dealing with cancer,” but added that “the timing hurts.”
“And to lose Aunt June so sudden just leaves us even more broken,” Adonna said. “There was no preparedness for her lost. I was just going to cherish our last conversation we had two days before she passed. God bless their souls.”
She said her dad, who was born on Jan. 12, 1932, attended the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Boys Grammar School, and represented the school and country in athletics and football (soccer).
Adonna said Mr. Lewis “started and managed a netball team, where he met his wife, Gloria.”
She said her dad was also a boxer and a senior road overseer and supervisor with the government, as well as a sailor, a surveyor and an architect.
“As an architect, he could not resist building things, and was the first to notice and let you know if something was of poor workmanship,” Adonna said. “He was constantly making changes, repairing or building something, making use of ideas and implementing them.”
She said her Uncle Rudy, who was born in Rose Place, Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, on July 20, 1932, was also a national soccer player.
Browne, the son of the late Elise Glenn-Matthews and Theodore Browne, also of Rose Place, worked as an electrician, and fire brigade and auxiliary police officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before migrating to the US in 1961, Adonna said.
“To provide a better life for his family, in 1961, at the age of 29, Rudy migrated to the United States of America where he explored many job opportunities in the Taxi Business and Shipping Industry,” the obituary states.
“For many years, Rudy worked for the New York City Housing Authority in maintenance management, where he eventually retired,” it adds. “Rudy had a strong work ethic and played even harder.
“He had a big heart, with charming qualities, and made everyone around him feel special,” the obituary continues. “He was willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.”
Funeral Service for June Lewis, who was born on Sept. 22, 1938, also in Rose Place, took place on Jun. 3 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.