FITTING TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF JEAN PEARSE

Many friends and family gathered at Clarke & Battoo Funeral Chapel to pay respects to Jean Pearse who died at age 84yrs. old.

There was a wide cross section of persons upon whom Agba Jean had had an impact as their lives met.

There were many persons in their sixties, and seventies present.

The commemoration was a bit different to those I had previously experienced but I think that it was befitting of the person being honoured.

Agba Jean we were told introduced puppetry into Tobago.

Jean’s  house/home was a hub of social and cultural activity and all present attested to her warmth and friendliness.

Jean was the elder sister of Apoeso Mutope.

Also present at the funerary rites was new Caricom Cultural Ambassador, Chief Servant Makandal Daaga and members of his family.

The Cultural Ambassador is in law to Jean Pearse.

As AGBA JEAN CONTINUES ON HER JOURNEY WE PRAY THAT SHE WILL POSITIVELY TRANSFORM AND BE INCLUDED IN THE HALL OF GLORIOUS ANCESTORS.

Agba Jean will be buried in Tobago where she spent the last twenty four years of her life.

Once again strength to all members of her lineage and family.

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14 responses to “FITTING TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF JEAN PEARSE

  1. margaret walcott

    She was a beautiful person who remembered all her friends and made them feel special. I knew her family and owe much to her husband Andrew Pearse. She introduced me to puppetry and presented a Christmas show at Queen’s Hall. She also presented “Who tief me mas” at the Little Carib with the Lilliput Theatre.
    I attended her beautiful funeral at Battoo’s where her beautiful articulate and sensitive daughters let us share their experiences with their mother.
    “Terra Seca “which would bring back many memories to her peers will now have a special significance to me.

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Greetings ! Thank you my Elder for taking time to visit this site and make your comment on the life of Elder Jean Pearse.I too thought the memorial appropriate and befittinf a tribute and send off to her and I enjoyed all of the musical selections. It is always well when your contemporaries can speak well of you. Your contribution is much appreciated by us at this site. May beautiful memories of Jean and Andrew be the ones that dwell with yyou. Be at PEACE! Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  2. Today 26th June is Jean Pearse’s my mother’s birthday. Not feeling like going to sleep I googled her name just for the heck of it and found this. Thank you Margaret for writing your kind words. What I find intriguing ,is getting to know my mother in a very different way, through the eyes and ears of her friends. I appreciate that her talents and contributions are finding their way into the records! I feel fully changed by my mother’s death. The reverberations are just ringing through me.
    What a mystery life is. My heart is warmer and more alive.

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Peace and Welcome. Thank you Amaragita for visiting our site through the grand design of our Elder – your Mother Jean Pearse. I am thankful that we could serve in preserving her memory and her contributions to Art and culture in civil society. I pray that as you learn more of your Mother you would preserve the integrity of that and those memories and that you will continue to honour her by maintaining the good that she has helped to establish and where possible by expanding upon the legacy bequeathed to you. May Supreme Being /Intelligence guide you through these moments. May the family remain at Peace and blessed. Thanks for visiting. Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  3. Jean Pearse who died in Trinidad on 6 June 2010 at the age of 83 was a pioneering force within the Caribbean community in Oxford from the late 70s to the mid 90s.. She came to Oxford in 1967 with their two daughters, Gabrielle and Joanna Pearse and her her late husband, Andrew Pearse, who was a visiting fellow at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. After Jean completed a Teacher Training Course at Lady Spencer Churchill College (Now Part of Oxford Brookes University), the family moved to Geneva and then to Granada, in order that Andrew Pearse could continue his research. After their return to Oxford, Jean taught at the local hospital schools and enjoyed her work at the Nuffield Orthopaedic enormously. She later trained as a puppeteer and visited many Oxfordshire schools with traditional Trinidadian Carnival puppets which she made herself to encourage local children to learn about Caribbean history and culture working closely with the Oxfordshire Centre for Multi-Cultural Education.

    Jean was elected Vice Chair of the Women’s Committee and was a member of the Race Relation Committee of Oxford City Council. Together with the late Veronica William and fellow-teacher, Kamala Hyder, she set up and ran the Blackbird Leys Saturday School working on a voluntary basis. The Saturday School is still running around 30 years later and is currently organized by Patsy Spencer, who was a volunteer helper when the school was set up so long ago.

    Jean Pearse also set up a Nursery at the African-Caribbean Roots Centre in the old South Oxford School and inspired many young women to start careers in child care. When Martin Luther King’s Birthday was declared a National Holiday in the USA, Jean initiated a Martin Luther King Celebration Day in Oxford (one of the first in the UK) which ran successfully for over 20 years and attracted such leading lights from the Black community as Member of Parliament, Bernie Grant, TGWU General Secretary, Bill Morris, poets such as James Berry, Amryl Johnson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the London Community Gospel Choir, Black Voices and many more – this has now been superceded by the very successful Oxford Black History Month. She also helped set up the Caribbean Oral History Project – collecting photographs and interviewing older people who came from the Caribbean to settle and work in Oxford from the 50s onwards so that an exhibition and historical record would be available.

    It was after her husband’s death in the late 1970s, Jean began to do voluntary work in Oxford. This period was one in which times were very hard for people of African-Caribbean background and Jean dedicated herself unstintingly to many aspects of Caribbean development. She was an inspiration to so many young women and men in the Oxford community and her own determination, perseverance and sense of humour combined with her enthusiasm and faith in the abilities of people to achieve were inspiring and very many people launched successful careers because Jean said ‘You can do it’.
    Jean decided to return to Trinidad and Tobago in 1988 and spend her ‘retirement’ there. In fact she was busier than ever –helping to setting up an adult literacy scheme in Tobago, teaching voluntarily in schools, initiating an arts festival with local teachers and setting aside a room in her beautiful Tobago home for an informal village library – queues of children used to come after school to borrow books from Miss Jean. Visitors from Oxford brought lovely new books out for Jean’s children’s library in Tobago. She also used her own funds to finance local women with small cooperatives making clothes and crafts to sell – women would call at her home at all times to tell her how their small businesses were doing.

    Her funeral in Trinidad attracted large numbers of people and she is buried in her beloved Tobago. Her sisters, brothers, daughters, sons in law, grandchildren and the many many friends who knew and loved her will miss this dynamic woman from the Caribbean who brought such joy, friendship and strength to the local community in Oxford. A special event will be organized in Oxford so that people can gather to share their recollections of this truly remarkable woman. If you wish to attend please contact Anne Mobbs.

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Greetings! Welcome and much thanks for your visit and your informed contribution on the life of AGBA JEAN PEARSE. I hope that all readers will be much more appreciative of her contributions to our National Heritage and Culture. I am indeed thankful. You visits here will/ shall be always welcomed. Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  4. We in Oxford wanted people in Trinidad and Tobago to know how much a part Jean Pearse played in the local community – she was a very special person

    Anne Mobbs

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Welcome once again Anne. Your comments and intent is highly appreciated by the Editors of this site. We hope and trust that through the jnformation that you have made available via this public domain that citizens of Republic Trinidad & Tobago will appreciate the contributions of their own as we continue to negotiate a Trinidad & Tobago identity. Thanks for your input and participation. Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  5. I have just been made aware by Ann Mobbs of this web site and would like to add my tribute to
    my dear friend Jean Pearse. I was “comissioned” by “The University Oxford Newcomers Club”to greet the familey on there arrival at Forresthill village Oxfordshire .Little did I realise that this would lead to 43years of shared friendship in England ,, Worldwide,, and an introduction to the beautiful Caribbean island of Tobago / Trindad and her so many friends and family who always gave me such a warm welcome on my many visits there
    I owe her so much and I will miss her and her family and friends . She was the nearest I ever had for a sister .
    OLIVE MINETT [OXFORD ]

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Greetings! Welcome! Thanks for sharing your direct and personal experiences with Agba Jean Pearse, and her family members ,that traversed a space that covered the globe. Thanks for your appreciation of her hospitality and that of her people and the people of Republic Trinidad & Tobago. May those precious memories forever remain fresh and alive in your mind. May every drop of beauty,tranquility and serenity that those moments meant to you remain indelibly etched in your mind. Continue to honour her in which ever way you can. Thanks again for your visitation and participation.May the memory and good works of Agba Jean Pearse live on.
      Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  6. I would like to tell you that I am coming to Tobago next week with my mum Olive Minett to spend time on the island that she has been so at home with because of her friendship with Jean …I feel so privileged to be able to have this opportunity to come .. i remember Jean and her smile from the age of about 4 yrs x

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      Greetings! Thanks for your visit to our site and for sharing with us the positive impact that Agba Jean Pearse had on your culturing and life. We welcome you once again to our twin island Republic and pray that your stay will be peaceful, memorable ,relaxing and rejuvenating. Oloye Orawale Oranfe

  7. This is three years late but last night I thought of my friend Jean Pearce, I decided to Google her and came upon this website and postings and I feel obliged to share my experience with her and how she touched my life.As one of those children from Tobago whose life was tremendously impacted by her, I can attest to her generosity, kindness and love of learning. Now in my late thirties, I personally believe that she was used to bless me in so many ways as a young girl. I met her not long after she came to Tobago when I was around 13, we were neighbors and became fast friends and would have daily visits that included tea, books, conversations and puppets. She was my place of refuge and I was her little companion I guess. She fed my love of reading, books and travel and I distinctly remember her handing me THE HOBBIT to read, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Forget the boring Scarborough Library, I got all my reading material from Jean and those were my escapes. I would knock on her door and when she heard my voice she would say “Hi Duckie”. I loved it! We would sometimes sit quietly while we each read or we would talk about London, her daughters Gabi and Joanna, my high school and whatever I was working on at the time. I remember when I was learning to play the steel pan I invited her to my first public performance in Scarborough and of course she came and stood directly in front of me and my double second steel drums. It was our groups very first time playing for the public, outside of our practice location and we were all super nervous. I was on the front line and we started off great until someone made a mistake. Soon pan sticks were dropping like flies inside of pans and players were walking away from their instruments. I was not too sure what was happening behind me and was continuing to play as I heard Jean’s voice saying to me “keep going, keep going” but as the sound from the other instruments waned, I too relinquished my pan sticks and looked around for my fellow musicians. She was always such an encouragement and I always wanted to make her proud. I would accompany her to the beach, to festivals, to the library where we would make puppets and teach children how to make puppets. I remember her freaking out one time when I stapled myself in the finger while making a puppet. At her Christmas party, other children and I would put on a play for the adults and more than anyone else it was always obvious that she loved it. The highlight of my life during those years was when she invited me to join her in London for vacation. I was ecstatic, words cannot describe what it did for me. She opened up my whole world, broadened my horizons and gave me cultural and global exposure that I could never have imagined. I had no idea what Jean had planned for that summer in 1990 but ohhhhhhh the impact it has had in my life. I now live in the United States, I have done some travelling including returning to London 7 years after my first trip with Jean. I have been to a ballet only one time in my life (Swan Lake),with Jean. She took me to Oxford, Notting Hill Carnival, the theatre, Madame Tussaud, to see all the famous sites, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge and many more. I ate fish and fries in newspaper and she tried to teach me to take the tube alone, I was no good at that, too scared. In my mind I knew I wanted a world-class life like Jean’s, whatever that meant to me at that time. There was no one else around me who had seen or done or lived or been exposed to the things she saw, did or spoke about. I was blessed to have her and I knew it. Upon my invitation, she attended my high school graduation and it was then I realized how much her approval meant to me. I aspired to be someone she would be proud of, although I personally thought I was too average to meet the mark. My family moved a lot and eventually we lost touch but she was always in my thoughts and in my heart. I remember writing to her from the States when I was about to get married. There were not many people who I felt compelled to inform but I needed to tell her. It’s funny how much you miss people and wish you could do more after they are gone. I wish I could talk to her and I wish she could see my children, she would love them, I just know it. Anyway, goodbye Jean. Thank you for showing me that there was more to life than just settling for where I was physically and otherwise, thank you for fueling my passion for books and reading (I wish you could read my books). Thank you for investing your time, talents, and resources in me. And thank you for making a poor, hopeful, bright, ambitious little girl your friend. I miss you but I will always treasure you in my heart by reliving the memories of our times together. Be blessed.

    • yorubasacredsciencecentre

      E K’abo! Welcome SimoneS to this site and for sharing your most valuable and precious memories of a Mother, woman and friend who positively transformed your life and the life of many persons worldwide. I am sure her living relatives who read this piece will be inspired and moved by your testimony. Your testimony has given her another moment of life in this reality and for this I am thankful. May you continue to be blessed and inspired by her,and her actions that transformed your life so profoundly, and may you continue to tell her story.May you also visit us at this site on many more occasions. Thank you SimoneS. Oloye Orawale Oranfe

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