Life & Times: Winnifred Dunkley laid to rest
It was a packed house at the Sanguinetti New Testament Church of God in Clarendon last Saturday as scores of mourners, headed by Member of Parliament Richard Azan, turned out to pay tribute to community icon Winnifred Dunkley.
Dunkley, who passed away on January 18, received glowing tributes in song and the spoken word.
Azan said that the occasion was a celebration of a woman who lived a good life for 96 years. He added that for one to live so long was a blessing.
"She saw many storms, many hurricanes and many people. She was a mother to the community, and the crowd here today is an indication of the wonderful woman she was," he said. "She touched many lives. She was blessed to have 15 children, of whom 14 are still alive. Her life is cause for celebration."
Pastor Lorna Herron, a family friend, said that the late nonagenarian played a great role in the development of the Full Truth Church of God in Clarendon through her prayers.
She hailed her as a woman of prayer who always had encouraging words for all who visited her.
"Her crown in heaven is decked with beautiful stars, and I hail her as a true woman of God," said Herron.
Pastor Desmond Dunkley, paying tribute to his late mother, said that she was a wonderful woman. He said that the children grew up in the Church, and all of them gave their lives to the Lord.
Dunkley said that his mother set examples for all her children, and that in itself was more than a blessing. He added that she was a real role model.
Daughter-in-law Beverley Dunkley said Dunkley demonstrated strength and courage. She said that at no time did she feel like a stranger around her.
"She was a real God-fearing woman who inculcated Christian values in all her children, grand and great-grandchildren. My life is better for knowing Winnifred Dunkley. She was a lovely woman who became a real mother to me when my mother died a few years ago," she said.
Dunkley was born on November 12, 1921, the second child for her parents. Her early education was acquired at the Sanguinetti Elementary School (now Sanguinetti Primary).
She got married at 15 to Wycliffe Dunkley, for whom she had all her 15 children. Her daughter, Esemenda Young, who read the eulogy, shared that Dunkley was blessed with great culinary skills, which produced many sumptuous dishes that were shared with the community.
"She was a woman of principle and courage. She was more than a strong figure. She was a woman of God who led a spiritual and busy life. She ensured that all of us did house chores and attended church. She was kind and selfless in giving. She paid attention to everyone's needs except hers," said Young.
Dunkley was interred at the Oaklawn Memorial Gardens at Dunsinane in Manchester after the service.