Ismay Steede (1916-2020)
A grande dame of the East End has died less than two weeks before her 104th birthday.
Her granddaughter, Renée Ming, the Progressive Labour Party MP for St George’s North, said Ismay Steede, who died on New Year’s Day, was “a true matriarch”.
Ms Ming added: “She had lived so long in St George’s, all the families grew up with her, which made it quite the village for us as we grew up.
“We really saw her as a matriarch, not just for the family, but for many in the St George’s family.”
Ms Ming said Ms Steede, a mother of 12 with 43 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and 24 great-great-grandchildren, was “still sprightly and had all her faculties”.
She added Ms Steede lived by herself in a family-owned apartment in the Olde Towne and was independent.
Ms Ming said: “She loved playing bingo, and she loved her favourite drink, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, any time anybody came to visit.”
She added Ms Steede was “very forthcoming; she would tell you exactly how it is”.
Ms Ming said: “She was very loving, accepting of anybody at family functions and her favourite pastime besides bingo was being around family. She was very strong in making sure we knew family was important.”
Ms Steede was honoured at the Olde Towne’s King’s Square with a bingo-themed birthday party in 2016.
She told The Royal Gazette at the time: “I am doing pretty good today.
Ms Steede added: “It surprised me to see all these folks. When I came down here, I didn’t expect all of this.”
Ms Steede’s viewing will be held tomorrow from 7pm to 9pm at Richard Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in St George’s.
• Ismay Steede’s funeral on Sunday, at 2pm in the St George’s Seventh-day Adventist Church on Secretary Road, will be held on the day she would have turned 104
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