Paying final respects to devoted matriarch

A beaming smile and a heart of gold is how friends and family will remember Janette Smith today as they gather to celebrate her life.

Ms Smith, a devoted matriarch and committed charity volunteer, died suddenly on January 22 at her Warwick home. She was 62.

Her son, Michael, said his mother as a “loving and caring woman” who always put others before herself.

He added: “She was a mother who was very involved in all parts of my upbringing.

“She was also the president of the Dellwood Parent Teachers’ Association when I was in school.

“She had a very strong bond with my son Malik, especially when he was growing up. She would take him everywhere with her. He was her everything.”

Close friend DeBorah Prince travelled with her family from New Jersey to be in Bermuda for today’s funeral, which will be held at the Salvation Army Citadel in Hamilton.

Ms Prince said: “She was devoted to her son, Michael, and her grandson, Malik. They were her heartbeat. She was the one who kept everyone together.”

Ms Prince’s husband, Michael, added: “We always had fun coming over to Bermuda and spending time with Janette and her family. There were a lot of good times.

“I loved her like a sister so her death has been hard for all of us.”

Ms Smith grew up in Pembroke with her two brothers, Willis and Buford, and attended West Pembroke Primary School and the Berkeley Institute.

She worked in administrative roles for a number of international firms in Hamilton after leaving school and gave up most of her spare time to help with charitable organisations.

She volunteered at Gina Spence Productions for nearly 20 years and was at the forefront of the charity’s Champions Programme, designed to support children who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

Ms Spence said: “Janette just loved children, and the children loved her. We have received condolences from all over the world.

“I’ll always remember her beaming smile, but what she brought to the charity was compassion, dedication and a non-judgmental attitude.

“She was such an important part of the charity and our work. She was instrumental in the Champions Programme and also in getting the representatives from the US bereavement camp Comfort Zone here to Bermuda recently.

“Not long ago, she was named as our volunteer of the year and we will be honouring her contribution to the charity by naming the award after her from now on.”

At the time of her death Ms Smith was preparing to open her own nursery, called TLC, at her home on Lusher Lane.

Ms Spence said: “She had just got her licence and was very excited about the future.”

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