Territory bids eternal Farewell to golden pioneer Leona Lettsome-Crabbe


LEONA CRABBEA thanksgiving of life service was held at the Church of God of Prophecy Community Worship Centre Long Look, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, for the late Hyacinth Leona Lettsome-Crabbe who departed this life on 25 February.

Hyacinth Leona Crabbe better known as Miss Luna was born on 2 March 1926 to her parents John Alexander Lettsome and Catherine Elizabeth Potter-Lettsome. Mrs. Crabbe’s parents had 21 children, but raised 11 as several of the children died early in life. Miss Luna was the last child born to her parents and the last member of the family to depart this life. Her passing signals the end of a great generation.

Mrs. Crabbe’s formal education began in her formative years and took place at the East End Methodist Church School at Chapel Hill, East, which was normal during those years. She spoke fondly of her teacher, Mr. Greenaway, who she remembered from this period.

Upon leaving the Methodist Church School she learned the art of sewing clothes for both men and women under her mother’s tutelage. She made a wide variety of items with her reliable foot pedal machine.

On becoming a young lady, a handsome young man started to notice Leona. As he was both handsome and hardworking he was allowed to begin a courtship with her, but this was only after this young man received a stern warning from her mother who was the disciplinarian and did not tolerate rudeness. This young man was none other than her late husband, Mr. Howard Crabbe. Later Mr. Crabbe wrote a letter to her parents to ask for her hand in marriage. In 1994, at the tender age of 18 she married her sweetheart in a modest ceremony in St Thomas, USVI where they met.

Two years later she was blessed with her first born a baby boy she named Autley. The couple lived for two years in St Croix where one of her daughters was born. She had two handicapped daughters. These two daughters were unable to speak and remained dependent upon her. She cared for Vashti and Verna for their entire lifetime of more than 30 years. She had a total of eight children, and three foster children. She also cared for her grand children at different stages of their lives over a period of about 20 or more years. Her patience in caring for these children is testament of her gentle, loving caring personality.

Mrs. Crabbe had established a solid reputation for her artistic qualities, including making items from straw. She learned the cultural skill of platting straw from her mother. Straws were used to make hats and baskets and to decorate objects such as bottles. While in St Croix she plait straws, sew hats which she dressed beautifully with her machine. She then sold these to tourists and locals alike to assist with the upkeep of her family.

Early in her married life she accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour and remained a truly devout Christian  for her entire life. She devoted many hours to the Church and Sunday school as well as caring for many brethren from the church or persons in need.

In addition to the work at home, the work of the church also had to be done. Mrs. Crabbe participated fully with her husband who was Pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, Long Look, for many long years, rising to the rank of Bishop.

Upon the couple’s return to Tortola, they settled in the Fat Hog’s Bay area. They were merchants and sold a variety of merchandise around the island using a Land Rover jeep to drive to all the different villages and all parts of the country. These legendary entrepreneurs were then able to construct a physical building as a business or a shop as these businesses were called during that period. This was the first shop in Fat Hogs Bay Village and they named it Ebenezer Grocery, and it served the entire community providing items on credit to lend a helping hand to their friends and neighbours who were less fortunate than they were.

Making hats from straw remained her speciality which she carried out during her attendance at the Senior Citizens Program at the East End/Long Look Senior Citizens  Centre, where she attended from its inception, for over 20 years ago. Her great artistic attributes included playing the accordion and the harmonica which she taught herself to play. She enjoyed playing these instruments at church and on special occasions such as family gatherings and concerts. Her musical skills were always well received by her audience.

Leona and Howard celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1994 and Mrs. Crabbe made herself a golden dress for this occasion. The couple also enjoyed a Caribbean cruise in 1997. Sadly Mr. Crabbe fell ill in 1999, and he did not recover from his illness and  died.

The late Hyacinth Leona Lettsome-Crabbe is survived by her Sons—Autley Crabbe, Titus Crabbe (Rocky), and Verlin Crabbe; Daughters — Esther Crabbe-Potter, Muriel Smith-Rabsatt; grandchildren — Mandinka Crabbe, Tyrone Potter, Nikkida Crabbe, Kimberly Crabbe-Adams, Amberly Crabbe (Lola), Eulalie Crabbe, Yvonne Crabbe, Dawn Crabbe-Herbert, Dion Crabbe, Carla Crabbe, Raj Crabbe, Iko Crabbe, Trevor Potter, Ryan Crabbe, Neddra Crabbe, Anna Rabsatt, Andrea Rabsatt and Anita Rabsatt; Great-grand-children — K’deja Crabbe, Khamouri Crabbe, M’Kori Crabbe, M’Kenzii Crabbe, Trent Herbert, Tenisha Herbert, Tiya Herbert, Tiffany Herbert, Ryson Adams, Jamal Warner, Ali Stevens, Demonie Crabbe, Lamoui Crabbe, Giovanni Crabbe, Khali Crabbe, Z’coy Crabbe, Z’ori Crabbe, Doyle Guishard, Kasheida Williams, Keida Williams, Kevaughn Williams, Daniella Guishard, Dimar Federik, D’Janni Federic; and many other friends and relatives too numerous to mention.

The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper are saddened by the great loss the entire Territory has suffered and wish to convey their sincere condolences to the bereaved