The woman with the iron hand in the velvet glove.
That’s how former principal of the Alexandra School Ada Straughn today remembered her late successor at the school, Glencora Titus who passed away two weeks ago at age 79.
Titus was laid to rest in the St Stephen’s churchyard following a two-hour long, solemn funeral service this morning at the St Michael’s Cathedral at which glowing tribute was also paid to her life and work.
The Commendation was delivered by His Grace, the Archbishop John Holder, who noted that Titus “has done her bit to make this world a better place”.
The large gathering also included two retired Bishops – Sir Wilfred Wood and Rufus Brome – as well as several members of the Anglican clergy and a group of seminary students at the Codrington College where Titus’ widower is the Principal Emeritus.
Other noticeable faces among the gathering of mostly family and friends, educators and former students of the late principal were prominent attorney -at-law Sir Richard Cheltenham and Chief Education Officer Laurie King.
Senator Kerryann Ifill, president of the Upper Chamber, read the second lesson, while the Alexandra School performed a musical tribute.
In a lengthy remembrance, Straughn hailed Titus, her former deputy, as a “an elegant woman, an eminent educator, a family stabiliser and a nobel heart”, who was now taking a well deserved rest.
She noted that the former educator had battled with significant health issues in the later part of her life but spent most of her tribute recalling her good years, particularly those spent at the Alexandra School where she said Titus has left “indelible marks on young human minds as a teacher, as a deputy principal, as principal and always as exemplar.
“Cora as she was fondly called did not aim for perfection, but efficiency and effectiveness and commitment characterised her performance at all levels, and she always seemed to maintain and radiate enthusiasm and strong feeling for anything in which she became involved.
“Her management skills which included self management, time management, organisational management and the management of people, all exhibited with a dignity, poise, bearing and presence, seemed so natural, but which often made one feel dwarfed by such a stature.”
Straughn also recalled what many students considered to be Titus’ trademark “rolling of the eyes”, which she used as “chastisement and disapproval of what she justifiably considered as rudeness and or misdemeanour, or plain stupidity”.
“…many admitted to the fear which this generated, ” said Straughn to strong laughter from the gathering.
Titus’ daughter Angela spoke in glowing terms of her mother as a ‘God fearing, loving, orderly and feisty lady”, whose marriage of 49 years to Canon Titus produced four children.
She said “mummy Titus” was a disciplinarian for whom character was important, as well as the truth. She also described her mother as “a hostess of class, an artistic woman and a pioneering spirit”, who though strict, was fun loving and had a strong sense of humour.
Sister Jacqueline described Titus, who was the first born of six, as a strong leader and a gifted individual who never wanted anyone to feel unappreciated or left out. She recalled her school days at QC where she was head girl and affectionately referred to as “Her Majesty”.
Gertude Welch, who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Education, said Titus was an “iconic personality” who made a valid contribution to the development of the schools’ curriculum and a positive impact on the education system in general. She went on to praise her no nonsense approach and to quote from Henry Longfellow’s A Psalms of Life:”Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time.”