Myrtle Rose Williams dies on Dec. 25, 2017

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The life of Myrtle Rose Williams was a beautiful, unforgettable melody you find yourself singing at odd times, even without thinking about it. You belt it out in the shower, dance to it while preparing a delicious meal, and hum it with a smile as you get through the routine, mundane daily tasks. No matter the mood you are in it is guaranteed to lift your spirit. Hers was a life beautiful in its simplicity.

As the fifth of nine children born to Francella Johnson in St. Ann, Jamaica, Myrtle sat firmly in the middle of her siblings, and that was the position she assumed growing up. She never aspired to be above the others; neither was she inferior; instead, she was the mediator, being the admired and respected older sister, and the favoured, beloved younger sister. Her life’s melody was composed in humility, as she quietly went about the business of living and loving without any fanfare.

Myrtle had one passion growing up, and that was food preparation. This led her to pursuing a course at the Culinary Arts School in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, where she was not only chosen as Head Girl, but she also graduated top of her class. She then took up a position as housekeeper and chef for the Frys, an expatriate family living in Jamaica, and remained with them for several years. Myrtle soon gained employment with a prominent doctor, Noel A. Black, and became like a much-loved member of the family until she migrated to the United States to begin a new life and add an extra trill to the already memorable and rhythmic melody.

Life in the USA continued in the same calm, unhurried note. Myrtle soon obtained employment in a Long Beach hospital as a Dietary Assistant, allowing her to remain in her chosen area of specialty. She was loved and respected by her colleagues, being a conscientious worker who shared her faith without fear, being always happy to tell those willing to listen about the love of God. She was also painstakingly clean, and observed the conventionalities of good hygiene in everything she did. Regardless of whether anyone felt she was overdoing it, she lived by her convictions, and was always true to herself.

No one who spends five minutes in Myrtle’s company could remain unaware of the two most important persons in her life; her two sons, Mark and David. She was a full-time mother even when her sons were grown men with families of their own. The rhythm of her life was intertwined with those of her children, as she supported and praised and encouraged them every step of the way. She was a proud mom whose song would not be complete without her children’s input; they loved her and she loved them, and she equally embraced their wives, treating them as the daughters she never had. When the grandchildren came along, they added a new note to the melody, and her aria was complete.

In May 2017, Myrtle was diagnosed with cancer, and given just a few months to live. She took the news in stride, with the same level of calmness and strength she had demonstrated throughout her lifetime. For her it was not a death sentence; rather, she viewed it as simply the end of her life on earth as she goes home to her Creator to begin a new life in a transformed body, free from pain. She was at peace with her situation, and spent her remaining time on earth with her family. On Christmas Day, the final notes of her life’s song drifted up to heaven as she said goodbye, surrounded by the entire family.

Goodbye, Myrtle. We will hear your melody every time we remember that deep, full-bodied laughter that rang out your love and zest for life. We will sing your song as we remember the warm, happy times, the conversations, the advice you never hesitated to give. Your song remains and will be forever sung by sons and daughters-in-law Mark, David, Rachsan and Janice; grandchildren Tamia, Morgan, Edric, Michael and Abner; sisters Carmen, Mary, Clarice, Joseth, Joan, Patricia and Paulette; brothers Robert, Rudolph and John; brothers-in-law Aston, Lloyd, Chris; nieces Rosemarie, Carleen, Gene, Michelle, Lauren, and Natasha; nephews Fenton, Oshane, Steven, Jahred and many grand nephews, nieces and loved ones.

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