Mother of six killed in taxi laid to rest
Marlene Smith was a household name in her community, and even in death, the outpouring of love was something special to behold.
The body of the 45-year-old mother of six was laid to rest at the Thetford Memorial Park in Old Harbour on Sunday, after a solemn funeral at the Temple of Faith Pentecostal Church that saw hundreds in attendance mourning her passing. The church, which is situated on Heart Street in Old Harbour, was filled to capacity, and the overflow crowded the length and breadth of the street completely restricting vehicular accessibility.
Smith, who was not the intended target, was killed on April 5, minutes after she boarded a route taxi bound for Old Harbour that was attacked by gunmen on Railway Lane in Spanish Town. She had left the Sydenham Basic School where she worked as a cook early that day, and was heading to a netball match. She had promised her daughters she would attend to cheer on the team.
The tributes described her as the mother, grandmother, and chief cheerleader at netball games at the Old Harbour High School where three of her four daughters currently attend.
"[She was] a mother that epitomised strength, a mother who epitomised courage, grit and determination," said principal of the school Lynton Weir.
"Marlene Smith provided support for her children. She was their biggest cheerleader. I asked the question again, who was Marlene Smith? The mother who loved her children, the mother who was present for all her children, the mother who provided for her children, the mother who encouraged her children, the mother who was at school to see that everything was going right for her children," Weir continued.
Her support for the school and the netball team did not go unnoticed as Weir and the school board chairman, Custos of St Catherine Icylyn Golding, announced a package that will see the school taking up the financial responsibilities of Smith's daughters to include payment of school fees, external examinations and school meals.
Her former colleagues at the Sydenham Basic School described Smith as a hard worker who was beloved by everyone, including the students who called her 'Auntie Marlene'.