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Footprints: Ms Gwenny, a matriarch like no other

Published:Tuesday | September 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Euly Gwendolyn Frater-Williams

The strength of a woman, is an enviable trait that only some possess, and while a few may take it for granted, others capitalises on it to impact lives - much like Euly Gwendolyn Frater-Williams, affectionately called 'Miss Gwenny'.

Ninety-two years ago, on April 12, 1923, Obadiah Frater and Rachel Clarke welcomed a baby girl who would later fill their hearts with pride as a hardworking family-oriented woman.

The eldest of two by her mother and the second of 13 by her father, Miss Gwenny grew up in the Bethany community in St Ann and the St. D'Acre Tabernacle Church, but received formal education at the Bethany Elementary School.

From an early age, Ms Gwenny learnt the importance of good work ethics as she assisted her aunt, Judith Fraser, with varied tasks.

Ms Gwenny's formal education ended after leaving Bethany Elementary and adding to her sewing skills, the determined young woman took up culinary skills; baking and selling while doing domestic work/days work, wherever it was available.

Overtime, Ms Gwenny gave birth to five children - Gloria, Claudette, Earl, Lorna and Trevor - a job she did single-handedly in an era when it was definitely not modish to be a single mother.

If these children felt bullied by their bigger sibling, they would sit and wait on her in the garden on tombs peeping through the banana leaves to see Mama and lodge a report.

It was her wish for her children to learn the principles of working and so she wasted no time in introducing them to the work ethics her parents taught her. Her daughter Lorna would go with her to her workplace at Alexandria Hospital to peel bananas as she prepared meals.

The call of God for her life was later evident and Ms Gwenny could not resist, she became a committed and active member of the fold.

Sealing the deal, the matriarch of her family joined in matrimony with her darling love Harry Williams and brought together all their children to make a great family.

As her years on Earth winded down and the pains became unbearable, Ms Gwenny was optimistic and held firm to her dear Lord and Saviour.

On August 18, 2015, God heard the call of his child and granted her a peaceful rest.

Ms Gwenny leaves behind five children, 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, four stepchildren, two sisters and three brothers.

- Tamara Bailey