Gweneth BryanFebruary 24, 1953 ~ December 13, 2019 (age 66)
Gweneth Joan Aldena Bryan was born on February 24, 1953 to Charles Bryan and Helen Gordon in Glanvilles Village in the parish of St. Philip on the beautiful island of Antigua, West Indies. She was raised by her God-fearing mother, who instilled biblical principles in her children, and her stepfather, Mr. Robert Gordon, affectionately called Old Bob by everyone. She was the second of eight children, born so small that no one would have believed the giant figure that she would become in her family circle. Her siblings recall her as being very assertive and outspoken at a very early age and no one would cross them whether young or older, for fear of having to deal with Gweneth’s wrath.
Being one of the older children, Gweneth, or Joan as she was affectionately called, proudly took up the mantle to care for her younger siblings. She was especially close to Juliette (Bobbie), who she would always carry around, latched on to her hips, so much so that Bobbie was extremely bow-legged in her toddler years. Her nurturing ways passed on to Bobbie’s two children, who she looked over like a second mother, and even took over primary care of them when their mom pursued studies in Jamaica.
Gweneth gave birth to her only child and the first grandchild of the family in 1976. She was a loving and caring mother making sacrifices to ensure that her daughter Kelcia (Desiree) had a better life than she did. As nephews and nieces were born, and the family grew, Gweneth continued to be a pillar of support by attending to the needs of all her nieces and nephews with the same care and selflessness as with her own child. She cared for her mother, with whom she lived until Gweneth migrated to the U.S. in 2001. She was always concerned about her mother’s well-being, and made sure to do everything within her means to meet her mother’s needs.
Gweneth was one of the first graduating students from the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel Training School in the late 70s. Gweneth worked in the service industry, first at the Hawksbill Hotel and then at the Rex Halcyon Cove Hotel, giving over two decades of service in the industry. While there, she was a mentor to her colleagues, building lifelong friendships with many. She was a diligent worker with impeccable work ethics.
Once settled in Florida, she obtained her High School Diploma as well as obtained qualifications as a certified health care worker. However, she went right back to the service industry where she worked at HMS Host for the last 17 years.
While in Florida, Gweneth never forgot her roots, and was often delighted when learning that her family would be visiting her. She was excited to have them and was always an excellent host. Perhaps too, she looked forward to the meals they cooked. She loved food and thoroughly enjoyed her mom’s seasoned rice or her sister Joycelyn’s (Joycee) baked chicken and fried dumplings. Her friend, Mrs. Hazlewood, also made famous fried dumplings and Gweneth often boasted that both Joycee and Mrs. Hazlewood’s fried dumplings were the best in the world. She was also a major fan of her baby sister’s cooking.
In 2005, Gweneth welcomed her son-in-law, Tamuka Mazana, into the family, and treated him with the same love as she would her own blood. In 2010, Kelcia and Tamuka presented her with her adorable granddaughter, Chaya Zothile Allyssa Mazana. Gweneth doted on Chaya from the day she was born. She took the role of grandmother very seriously and was the go-to babysitter, chauffeur, Disney Character, counsellor and playmate. She was present at every recital and program, ready to show her beaming pride at her granddaughter.
Gweneth was very serious about her relationship with her God. She began attending the Seventh Day Adventist church with her aunt in Glanvilles and eventually got baptized and became a member of the Tindall Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was an active member of the church, teaching Sabbath School, working with the Pathfinder Club and in the Women’s Ministry… and boy oh boy, did she love to camp! She would always find a way to be a part of any camping activity organized by her church. Gweneth maintained her faith while living in Florida, attending the Patmos SDA Chapel and later attending the Patmos Restoration Ministries.
Gweneth was loved by many and was a star and guiding light in her family. As sisters, brothers, child, mother, granddaughter, nieces, nephews and cousins come together to reminisce, they all fondly recall her infectious laughter; that deep laughter that shook her from head to toe, that brought tears to her eyes and left everyone else around her in stitches. Her smile was warm, full of care and could brighten any dark day. They recall her strong alto as she belted out the hymns of the faithful. They remembered her simple faith and reliance upon God rather than giving in to worry and despair. She lifted spirits by being the mischievous one in the family, always drawing our smiles by playfully tormenting her family. She was also remembered as the in-house tooth-extractor for all the children whose teeth were transitioning from baby to adult. She stepped up to that job when all mothers and fathers cowered in fear.
We thank God for the gift of Gweneth Joan Aldeana Bryan and all the wonderful memories. She has left a void, that only the Lord can fill back up, but she has left us a lasting example of godliness, selflessness, humility, joy and thanksgiving.
Left to mourn are her passing are:
Mother Helen Gordon of Golden Grove Extension, Antigua; daughter, Kelcia Desiree Mazana (Tamuka) and granddaughter Chaya Mazana of Oviedo, Florida; sisters: Joycelyn Henry (Cecil) in Antigua, Janice Philip in England, Alison Gordon Bryan (Oral) in Canada and Juliette Michael (Lionel) in Antigua; Her brothers: Charlesworth Bryan (Bernicedeen) in St. Croix and Barrymore (Yvonne) Gordon in Antigua; Nieces (Natalya, Tanisha, Junella, Arnelle, Rocquelle, Lorraine), Nephews (Jermaine, Dwayne, Brandon, and Jhayden), Grandnephews (Jordan, Uriah, and Micah), cousins, and a host of other family members and friends.
May the soul of our dearly departed Gweneth Joan Aldena Bryan rest in peace until our Lord returns.