Community bids farewell to outstanding Native Daughter

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The funeral service for the late Maria Constantia Frett-Wheatley who departed this life on 30 August  2014 was held on 13 September at the Church of God of (Holiness) East End.

Maria Constantia Frett-Wheatley also known as Miss Marie was born to William Albert Frett and Rebecca Lettsome at East End, Tortola on 21 July 1922. She had one sibling, Excelmon Frett. A very devout and reflective person since her early years, she attended the East End Methodist School for nine years, thus completing the compulsory schooling requirements and achieving the standard seven certificate, the highest certificate available to the students of the Virgin Islands at that time.

After leaving school she joined the band of women in East End in making hats and bags from straw. She travelled around Tortola and to St Thomas and St Croix to sell her artisanry products. She met and married the dashing Garnett Whealey of James Young and that union produced seven wonderful children. Three of these children died before her. She was also the foster mother of Luella Smith-Potter of Salt Island from the tender age of six.

The family lived at Major Bay for many years and during that time Miss Marie and her mother Rebecca opened a small village grocery and bakery. This business involved most of the family members, while her husband Garnett  – a boat captain – sailed regularly to the other Leeward Islands and the US Virgin Islands. After her mother Rebecca died, the family moved to James Young.

She continued to operate her grocery until she was unable to carry it on. Miss Marie was devoted to her children and encouraged them to put God first in their lives. Miss Marie was a fervent Christian woman who never failed to be a witness for her Lord.  She worked faithfully in the East End Methodist Church as a Sunday School teacher, a leader of young Christians and a Lay Preacher.

In his tribute to Mrs Frett-Wheatley, Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said: “As an entrepreneur Mrs. Wheatley operated a grocery store from her home which served the entire community. In the true spirit of community-mindedness on numerous occasions she provided items on credit to those who needed it most…Her entrepreneurial spirit can be seen in her children’s many business ventures such as Island Department Store, and Happy Lion Restaurant…”

“Many will remember her as a missionary who preached the Gospel throughout our Virgin Islands and we will always be grateful to her for encouraging all of us to have a closer relationship with God…This reality can be seen with the start and commitment to the Interdenominational Day of Prayer which was founded by her son, Linton,” the BVI Leader added.

The late Maria Constantia Frett-Wheatley is survived by her children: Norbert ‘Fixit’ Wheatley, Kensley ‘Santo’ Wheatley, Linton Wheatley, Macfred ‘Freddie’ Wheatley, and Luella Potter (foster child); Grandchildren:—Kenrico Wheatley Sr. , Dorna Wheatley-John, Trevor Wheatley, Ashlee Stoutt, Asha Stoutt, N’Kwame Wheatley, Brendelee Wheatley, Aliston Wheatley, Kensla Wheatley, Neethia Wheatley, Cindy-Wheatley-Morris, Dr. Sabrina Wheatley, Jasmine Wheatley, Akeem Wheatley, Denesha Wheatley-Jennings, Dierdra Wheatley, Macden Wheatley, Hillaire Wheatley-Woodard, Hillis Wheatley-Todman, Bernard Hamlet Wheatley Jr., Ray A. George, Glenice A. George, Rondie E. George; Great-Grandchildren:—Kenrico Wheatley Jr., Lamar Wheatley, Omar Wheatley, Shequan Wheatley, Josiah Wheatley, Kierra John, Chandre John, Soneilda Wheatley, Omari Green, Lacoy Jeffers, Destiny Douglas, Nahamani Wheatley, Idrecia Richards, Ilysha Richards, Alisma Wheatley, Ayana Andi, Mackenzie Morris, Dakarai Adams, Isaac Randall, Daniel Randall, Michelle Jennings, Michael Jennings, Miccah Jennings, Migael Jennings, Jalani Clarke, Deanna Woodards, Grenelle Todman-Perez, Elayna Perez, Ellysa Perez, Camilla Todman-Nunez, Gadayah Wheatley, Joseph George, Rayjon George, Myah George, Ryan George, Cardiff Wheatley Jr. “Roy”, Adrian Potter, Sandra Potter-Warrican, Ron Potter, Zane Potter, Deseree Potter; Stepson: Anthony Wheatley; Daughters-in-Laws—Ivy Wheatley, Angela Wheatley “Angie”, Pauletta Wheatley “Pearl”, and many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.

The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend deeply felt condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the late Maria Constantia Frett-Wheatley.

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