Jamaicans Pay Final Respects to Lady Ivy Cooke

Photo: Yomo Hutchinson Jamaicans Pay Final Respects to Lady Ivy Cooke

Story Highlights

  • Jamaicans from all walks of life congregated at the East Queen Street Baptist Church, downtown Kingston, on Friday (June 30) to pay their final respects to the late Lady Ivy Cooke, widow of former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke.
  • Justice Cooke, in an emotional tribute, said his mother, who came from humble beginnings, always carried herself with poise and elegance.
  • “You were able to treat others with grace. This country benefitted from your presence as the wife of a Head of State but more so, as someone who exhibited meekness. You have earned your rest and deserve to hear that divine benediction ‘well done good and faithful servant.’ Blessed are you Lady Cooke, your life was marked by humility, demonstrated in kindness,” Rev. Lalor said.

Jamaicans from all walks of life congregated at the East Queen Street Baptist Church, downtown Kingston, on Friday (June 30) to pay their final respects to the late Lady Ivy Cooke, widow of former Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke.

Among those in attendance at the official service of thanksgiving were: Their Excellencies, Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen; Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips; former Prime Ministers, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and the Most Hon. Percival J. Patterson; President of the Senate, Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson; members of the diplomatic corps, the Government, Opposition and Lady Cooke’s family, friends and well-wishers.

The approximately three-hour long service included musical interludes and tributes from family members and close friends including her son Hon. Mr. Justice (Retd.) Howard Cooke; former Prime Minister Patterson; Dr. Tasha Cooke Davis; Rev. Dr. Roy Henry; Mrs. Elaine Salmon Brouers; and Dr. Simon Clarke.

The first, second and third Bible lessons were read by the Governor-General; Prime Minister Holness; and Dr. Phillips, respectively.

In his tribute, Mr. Patterson said Lady Cooke was a role model and inspiration for all who came within her path. Like her late husband, Lady Cooke was a teacher by profession and she made a major contributor in the field of child development.

“She felt it was her duty to make sure that every student that passed within her path left equipped not only with knowledge but with the character that would contribute to building a better Jamaica,” Mr. Patterson said.

He noted that as first lady she performed her role “with grace, with dignity and with decorum.”

Justice Cooke, in an emotional tribute, said his mother, who came from humble beginnings, always carried herself with poise and elegance.

“She was quietly an adornment at my father’s side as he steadily achieved high office. In fact, Mama’s presence complemented my father’s persona as he carried out his public duties but that did not mean she surrendered her independence of thought. She was no shrinking violet,” he said, adding that she was devoted to her family.

He noted that Lady Cooke had a passion for music and was instrumental in starting the annual Christmas concerts at King’s House. “Mama never abandoned her roots and every year, she would send gifts to the needy in Montego Bay,” he said.

In his sermon, Rev. Dr. Glenroy Lalor urged Jamaicans to emulate Lady Cooke by demonstrating the divine qualities of meekness and humility, she exhibited, and putting the interest of others above their own.

He noted that while Lady Cooke was an official of State, she was never officious and did not use power or privilege in a domineering way.

“You were able to treat others with grace. This country benefitted from your presence as the wife of a Head of State but more so, as someone who exhibited meekness. You have earned your rest and deserve to hear that divine benediction ‘well done good and faithful servant.’ Blessed are you Lady Cooke, your life was marked by humility, demonstrated in kindness,” Rev. Lalor said.

Lady Cooke, born June 27, 1916, is survived by children, Justice Cooke; Richard Washington McDermott Cooke; Audrey Faith Cooke; grandchildren; other relatives and friends.

Lady Cooke died on June 5 at the age of 100. Her final resting place is at the National Heroes Park, Kingston.

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