Sat | May 27, 2017

Avis Henriques was phenomenal

Published:Monday | March 16, 2015 | 3:00 AM
John Henriques, son of Avis Henriques, is consoled by Peggy Fennell at the St Andrew Parish Church last Friday.

Many knew her as the only woman to head the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and one who served as president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ). But to Lance Henriques, Avis Henriques, who died February 25, at age 91, was a phenomenal grandmother.

Addressing mourners during her thanksgiving service at the St Andrew Parish Church last Friday, he said the teachings of his grandmother contributed to the man he is today.

"The day after my grandmother died was very difficult for me, as it was for many of us. I went to work to keep myself occupied, but the calls kept coming and I realised that this woman influenced a lot of persons," he said.

"Even friends from prep (preparatory) school and high school, because their parents were either taught by, or worked at some point with, her."

He added: "Even though we hated it, Grandma would ensure that we get to church every Sunday but, looking back, we knew that foundation was a huge part of who we are today.

"She taught us the correct way to hold a knife and fork. She was a fantastic lady who loved her family and others and would give her last dollar to ensure that those in need are accommodated."

Her son, Lawrence Henriques, remembered his mother as a practical person.

"My father provided the template, but Mom was the one who laid out the practical application. My father had the vision, but the one who made dreams a reality was my mother. She was the one who would leave her car and get on the bus with us and take us through Kingston and showed us what it is we should and should not do," Lawrence recalled.

"When I was unable to, she was the one who took my children and brought them up. I am grateful to my mom; at last she is at rest," he said, tearfully.

In the meantime, the Reverend Larius Lewis, in his sermon, encouraged persons to embrace the ability to love.

"It is very devastating when we lose a loved one. According to the passage, it was God's love for mankind which led him to sacrifice His son for our sins. However, no one would do such a thing today, and so even the parents of criminals keep silent sometimes because they see breaking their silence as a way of sacrificing their children," he said.

"However, some sacrifices are worth making, because if you love, you have to sacrifice some things, and I urge you to make sure love is a priority in your life," he urged.