Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Linda’s legacy - Oldest beneficiary of AGD-administered estate dead at 101

Published:Monday | January 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Linda at 28 years old when she enrolled in the WAAF in 1943.
Linda (left) and her social worker in Somerset in the UK in 2005.
Administrator General Lona Brown (left) and estate administration executive for the AGD Ingrid Cole (right) with Linda Pilliner at West Abbey Care Home in 2015.

From Panama to Jamaica to the United Kingdom, the fearless and inspiring journey of Linda Pilliner (nee Crosbie) ended in England last year and closed a chapter on the oldest beneficiary of an estate administered by the Administrator General's Department (AGD).

Linda, who passed away in England last October, at 101 years old, was the oldest living beneficiary and the last surviving child of the Crosbie estate, administered by the AGD since 1928.

Her relationship with the AGD spanned several decades, beginning with the death of her father, surgeon dentist Dr William Crosbie, who named the administrator general for Jamaica as executor and trustee in his will dated March 26, 1927. That decision is still having an impact on the Crosbie family.

Crosbie was born on Wildman Street in Kingston, Jamaica, and later moved to Panama, where he worked for the United States Army during the construction of the Panama Canal. He was married to Linda's mother, Angelina Beverly Crosbie (nee Heantjens), and together, they had six daughters and three sons.




After the Crosbie family relocated to Jamaica, tragedy struck in 1928 when Linda's father died. Her youngest sister, Blanche, passed away six months later.

In his will, Crosbie established a trust for his wife and six daughters: Blanche, Iris, Vera, Linda, Jessie, and Lelia. A further bequest was that upon the death of any of the testator's children, their individual share would be held in trust for their respective children.

Before the family could begin coping with the loss of their father, their mother died in 1929. And thus began the AGD's journey with Linda and her sisters.

Crosbie stated in his will that upon the death of his widow, income should be paid to the benefit and advancement of his surviving daughters. The AGD has been carrying out his wishes since then.

Orphaned at 13 years old, Linda and her three youngest sisters were put in the care of the Sisters of Mercy Alpha. Linda excelled at playing the violin and painting.

According to her daughter, Maureen: "When she left (Alpha), mum wanted to go to the UK to study art, but there were not enough funds for such an undertaking at that time. This is most unfortunate as mum was a talented artist."

Years later, Linda would journey to the UK for a different reason. During World War II, she responded to a call for citizens of the Commonwealth to join the British army and travelled to England by ship in a convoy.

Though the situation was serious, Linda recalled having an exciting and sociable journey. The ship docked at Inverness in Scotland, but Linda was so cold, she had to be transferred to Surrey, where she was billeted with a family.

On October 11, 1943, she enrolled in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in Maidstone, Kent. Despite the threat of falling bombs, she worked as a tele-printer operator between 1943 and 1945.




After the war ended, Linda longed for sunshine and returned to Jamaica because she could not cope with the cold, rainy weather. In 1948, she married John Dalrymple Pilliner and the union produced a daughter, Maureen.

The family lived in Trelawny and St Andrew, where Linda attended the Holy Cross Church. Linda's early artistic skills were shown when she painted professional banners for the church.

"These banners were enlarged from 2x4 inches to 32 x 44 inches, quite a skilfull task for an untrained painter to undertake. I recall her painstakingly poring over the tiniest detail to ensure it was perfect," said her daughter.

In 1968, Maureen left Jamaica for the UK to study nursing. Linda would visit her daughter and grandchildren in England from time to time.

Throughout this time, the AGD continued to honour Crosbie's bequests. The administration process involved remitting advances to Linda's late sister, Iris, for more than 30 years while she was living in Canada. Iris died in 1991.

Money was also sent to assist with Vera's monthly expenses during a long-term illness while she lived in the UK. Additionally, prior to Jessie's death, the AGD employed a practical nurse to take care of her.




Administrator General Lona Brown said: "When I took office in 1996, I had the pleasure of meeting Jesse, Lelia, and Linda. The sisters were like an extended AGD family. It was always entertaining to listen to members of staff, those retired and those present, regale us with stories of their visits and time spent with the sisters."

At one point, three of the sisters lived at 9 Holborn Road, Kingston 5. With Lelia's passing in 1996, the AGD sold the house and used the funds to purchase an Apartment at 2 Worthington Terrace, Kingston 5, to provide more secure and suitable housing for Jessie and Linda.

After Jessie's death in 2005, Linda migrated to the UK to live with Maureen in Somerset. She stayed there for several years until she required continuous nursing care and was removed to the West Abbey Care Home in nearby Yeovil.

That was where the administrator general and estate administration executive at the AGD, Ingrid Cole, visited with Linda in November 2015. They gave her a blanket in the Jamaican colours, which her daughter promptly used to cover her.

The timing was perfect as Linda was still celebrating her 100th birthday. Like any other 'parent', the AGD was delighted and proud when she received her special birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II with a congratulatory message.




It was with great sadness that the AGD received news of Linda' passing in October 2016.

Recounting the journey with the department, her daughter, Maureen, said: "It has been my experience that the AGD has been steadfast and faithful to the execution of grandfather's estate. Over the many years in which they have done this, that is from 1928 to the present date, they have adhered to the wishes of Dr William Crosbie and ensured that 'his girls' have been looked after financially and environmentally.

"I would have no hesitation in recommending the AGD to anyone seeking a safe and reliable executor or trustee."