Age is just a number, goes the old saying. This is especially true for Jamaican-born Veronica Wisdom, who celebrated her 101st birthday three weeks ago.
Born in Alexandria, St. Ann, Jamaica on May 23, 1909, she moved to the United States over 60 years ago and currently resides in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
Since coming to the US, she has established herself in the Caribbean community, being “mother”, “aunt”, friend and mentor to a number of persons.
Former Jamaica Nationals Association President, Elise Morse (left) presents a potted plant to Veronica Wisdom, ‘Aunt Ver’ on the occasion of her 101st birthday celebration at the Northminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in Washington DC.
“Aunt Ver”, as she is affectionately called in the U.S. capital, is a founding member of the Jamaica Nationals Association (JNA) in Washington D.C. She kept JNA going through difficult times, often financing events from her own pocket. In 1966, the association recognised her “invaluable contribution” to her community in the US, as well as to Jamaica.
In an interview with JIS news, close friend and founding member of JNA, Rayniss Mayne, described “Aunt Ver” as an “effervescent woman,” whose home was always opened to students, particularly those attending Howard University. Her home was also considered a “home away from home” for a number of senior police officers from Jamaica, as well.
She was an indefatigable hostess, well known for her parties and sumptuous food, including Jamaican hard dough bread and Easter buns. She was never tired of extending a helping hand to persons in need and, for her work in the community, she received a number of awards.
Reflecting on her life, “Aunt Ver” told JIS news that her “profound faith in the Almighty,” made her stick to her church, and she has served as a deacon, for many years, at the Northminster Presbyterian Church.
She said one of the secrets of her longevity is to always enjoy a glass of wine and “cut the rug” (dance).
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, congratulated Ms. Wisdom, on behalf of Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and the Government and people of Jamaica, and wished her continued long life.
On the occasion of her 101st birthday, her church community, along with family members, representatives of the JNA, and friends hosted a special birthday reception in her honour in the church’s fellowship hall.
“Aunt Ver”, whose parents and siblings preceded her in death, has two sons, Leonda and Clarence Lee, several grand and great grandchildren, as well as several nieces and nephews.
She is being cared for by two persons she describes as her “special nieces,” Winnie Greaves and Inez Barnes, as well as her sons and their families supported by a team of loving caregivers.