There was not a dry eye at the Black Rock Seventh Day Adventist Church as 58-year-old Colleen Beresdean Payne of Lodge Hill, St Michael made her final journey on earth.
Payne’s sister Ella Nowell’s grief was virtually contagious as she openly mourned the death of her sister, who was shot and killed on the night of July 17 while using the Royal Bank of Canada’s automated banking machine at University Drive, Black Rock, St Michael.
Seventeen-year-old Baggio McNeil Boxhill of 3rd Avenue Spring Garden, Black Rock, St Michael; 18-year-old Kishon Lemar Anderson Thomas of Nicholls Road, Seaview, St James and 19-year-old Orlando Ricardo Martin of 2nd Avenue, Bibby’s Lane, St Michael have since been charged with her murder.
Twenty-four-year-old Kyle Donicco Gill of Danesbury, Black Rock, St Michael and 19-year-old Darian Reuben Thompson of Oldplow Road, Bagatelle, St Thomas were charged with assisting the offenders.
Throughout her tribute Monday, Nowell struggled to remain poised, and when Robert Carter began a rendition about prayer and forgiveness, she simply fell apart.
This created a domino effect, leading Payne’s husband, Joseph, to lower his head as he tried to keep his composure.
Affectionately referred to as Beres by family and friends, Payne had devoted her life to her job, her family and God. A devoted Christian and active member of the Black Rock Seventh Day Adventist Church, she was also a committed employee of the Child Care Board (CBB) for nearly 36 years.
Payne’s niece, Keona Nowell, delivered the eulogy on the family’s behalf.
Nowell said there would be no ill feelings towards those responsible for her beloved aunt’s death. Instead, they would leave it to God and pray for the five individuals who stole Payne’s life.
“As a Christian family, we choose not to reciprocate hate or ungodly anger . . . as our Heavenly Father grants us His loving pulpit during this time of deep hurt and pain. We choose to rather to bestow forgiveness of these misguided young men through our collective prayers and through Christian reflection,” she said.
Nowell described her aunt as a peaceful and God-fearing woman whose beliefs strengthened as she grew older.
Payne was a confidant for her sister, a second mother to her nieces and no-nonsense and yet generous aunt, the niece said.
“[She] was always willing to give me what she didn’t plan on sharing and when she did you can guarantee it was going to me. She never neglected to let me know she was not my mother and indeed I needed to quickly find her,” the young woman recalled with humour.
“Aunty Beres was one of the most upfront, while simultaneously being one of the most genuine and humourous people I know . . . . I will miss her contagious smile and laughter that always accompanied her stories, or her eagerness to tell us any information she thought worth sharing,” she added.
Payne’s daughter, Shakeila Payne, read a poem that emphasized how much her mother will be missed.
The 25-year-old revealed that although she was an only child, her mother had raised several other children as if they were her own.
Although she was saddened by her mother’s killing, Shakeila explained that very often, her mother would stress that when her time finally came she would be prepared to go with Christ.
“She would always say . . . if death come knocking, I’m going to go long, I’m not fighting it. I am ready to die, I’m prepared already. And I would say, ‘why you talking so?’” she recalled.
While suggesting it would not be easy to cope with her mum’s untimely death, Shakeila assured the congregation that she would get through the ordeal with the help of her immediate and extended family.
“I will continue to go on. She was my backbone, but now I have a lot more backbones to keep me up. Although today is a sad day, I know as long as I live right and keep God first, on that glorious morning my mother will get up and I will meet her at heaven’s gates,” she said.
Her funeral service was widely attended by CCB staff, with Director Joan Crawford, Chairman Kenneth Knight and Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steven Blackett present.