Friday 24 May, 2019

Lady Ivy Cooke, widow of former GG, Sir Howard, laid to rest

A wide cross-section of Jamaicans gathered at the East Queen Street Baptist Church in downtown Kingston on Friday for the service of thanksgiving for the life of the late Lady Ivy Cooke, widow of former Governor-General, Sir Howard Cooke.

Among those in attendance were Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen; Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips; former prime ministers Portia Simpson Miller and PJ Patterson; President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson, and members of the diplomatic corps, the Government and the Opposition.

The service, which lasted for approximately three hours, included music and tributes from family members and close friends, among them, Lady Cooke's son, Justice Howard Cooke; former Prime Minister Patterson; Dr Tasha Cooke-Davis; Reverend Dr Roy Henry; Elaine Salmon-Brouers, and Dr Simon Clarke.

The first, second and third Bible lessons were read by the governor general, the prime minister and the opposition leader, respectively.

Patterson, in his tribute, said Lady Cooke was a role model and inspiration for all who came within her path. He cited that 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,” 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 came from humble beginnings, but 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 said 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, Reverend Dr Glenroy Lalor urged Jamaicans to emulate Lady Cooke by demonstrating the divine qualities of meekness and humility which she exhibited, and putting the wider interests of others above their own.

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

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

She died on June 5 at the grand age of 100 years.

Her final resting place is the National Heroes Park, also in downtown Kingston.

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