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Restaurant owner and ‘kind woman’ remembered

Woman of substance: Ruth Paynter outside her business (File photograph)

Ruth Paynter, a businesswoman and icon of Hamilton Parish known as Aunt Ruth, has died, aged 94.

Her sister, Eva Hodgson, a historian and social activist, said the owner of Landfall restaurant and Clear View suites and villas was also a devout Christian.

Dr Hodgson added: “She was very strong-minded, very determined and an extremely active person, always working on projects.”

Ms Paynter, the oldest of six children, acted as a mother for her younger siblings when their mother died.

Dr Hodgson called her “more or less mother” to former Progressive Labour Party minister Arthur Hodgson. Jelani Hodgson, Ms Paynter’s nephew, said she was “a matriarch and a legend — in my father Arthur’s words, a great woman has died”.

“She was a leader in the community, and thousands knew her as I knew her — Aunt Ruth.

“She was generous and kind, loving and forgiving, and devoted to Jesus. She is the main reason I am a committed Christian.”

He added that Ms Paynter was known for her style.

Mr Hodgson said: “At 94, the only shoes she had were high heels.”

Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess led tributes yesterday in Parliament.

Mr Burgess said Ms Paynter was “an icon in the Bible Belt of Hamilton Parish” who would be missed by “the Crawl Gospel Hall family”.

Kim Swan, a PLP MP, added that Ms Paynter was “the epitome of elegance and grace”.

Fellow PLP MP Wayne Furbert said Ms Paynter had taught him at school.

He added: “She was 94 and still driving and she was always working.

“It’s going to be a huge service there at Crawl Gospel Hall.”

Opposition MPs Grant Gibbons and Michael Dunkley joined in the tributes.

Dr Gibbons said Ms Paynter was “a matriarch of her family”.