Scores of relatives and friends assembled in Cane Garden Bay on Wednesday (April 26) to pay final respects to one-half of the British Virgin Islands’ longest married couple, Josephine ‘Mama’ Rhymer.
She passed away on April 12 at age 97, leaving four generations of her own making.
Mrs Rhymer was married for 76 years to William, who is now 100 years old.
Each of the couple’s wedding anniversary, in the latter years, was met with celebration and media coverage.
The love story eventually reached Buckingham Palace. On the couple’s 70th and 75th wedding anniversary, Queen Elizabeth II sent them royal mail.
Mrs Rhymer, one perhaps should note, exchanged wedding vows when she was 21 years old.
Though deceased, her mark on the British Virgin Islands will remain indelible for generations to come.
Mrs Rhymer had 10 children (six males and four females), 31 grandchildren, 54 great grandchildren, and 21 great great grandchildren.
“What a legacy!” Mrs Rhymer’s family exclaimed in a written tribute. “Mama cultivated four generations of the Rhymer family!”
Mrs Rhymer did not only ‘cultivate’ children.
She, along with her husband, tilled the land in Round Hill and grew a plethora of crops including banana and pigeon peas. The duo, who also copped the territory’s ‘Farmer of the Year’ title many years ago, raised livestock such as cows and pigs.
Mrs Rhymer was born in Cane Garden Bay on November 5, 1919 to the late Joseph Nibbs and Alphena Blyden.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith described her as one of the territory’s earliest business pioneers of the agricultural sector. “Mrs Rhymer’s life was guided by the values of kindness and honesty,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie, in the meantime, hailed Mrs Rhymer as a woman who was full of life and wisdom.
He further said: “Mrs Rhymer’s life will be best remembered from what she did more than what she said. The dash between the year of her birth and the year of her death will forever speak volumes.”
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