Merle Crump hailed as an extraordinary woman
In a funeral steeped with rich accolades, scores of family members and friends gathered at the St Anthony's Catholic Church in Port Antonio, Portland last Saturday to celebrate the life of the late Merle Hyacinth Crump, who made her mark as a renown health worker and champion humanitarian.
Tears flowed freely among her children, friends and former co-workers in the health sector, who remembered Crump, who passed away on April 7, 2015, at age 90, as a strong advocate for family, faith, hard work, kindness, tolerance, generosity, forgiveness and love.
"There are not enough lovely adjectives in the English language to describe Merle Crump, our mother," said son, Davon, who is former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and a major player in the local business process outsourcing sector.
"One thing I do know: she would not want us to eulogise her or exalt her in any way."
Added her tearful son: "Mama was so humble; remaining so to the very last breath. Our mother was the truest and dearest supporter of all seven of her children. She was our friend, our cheerleader, our provider, (and) our counsellor."
The sombre atmosphere was mixed with sobs echoing throughout the chapel as the recollection of the life of a woman, who was "utterly generous" and "always thinking of others before herself" was interspersed with musical tributes, including a stellar rendition of Frank Sinatra's My Way.
In the eulogy, Rodger Braham, her son-in law, described Crump as a strong woman, gentle but direct, who marshalled every aspect of the lives of her children and those she mothered.
Merle 'Mama Merle' Crump was born in October 1925, and grew up in Coopers Hill, Portland. In the 1940's she met and tied the knot with Vincent 'VB' Crump, who predeceased her in 1972. This loss of her best friend and life partner forced an immediate transformation from housewife to breadwinner in order to provide for her seven children - Viviene, Marcia, Winsome, Janet, Vincent Jr, Shane and Davon.
"In her early life, she was a follower ... however, when she lost VB (her husband), she became a leader," Braham said. "Always seeking the best for her children and those around her, Merle Crump was a choice saint of God."