“There are no good-byes, wherever you are, you will always be in my heart, said by Mahatma Ghandi captures the sentiments felt by anyone and everyone who had the honor of being present in the life of Esther Smith. A woman who inspired everyone around her to show the world a better and more beautiful you.
Esther Erline Smith, affectionately known as “Mama,” was a loving, caring, always smiling, and God-fearing woman who could out dance all her children and grandchildren. She was born in Spanish Town Jamaica, West Indies on February 21, 1924 to Edward and Hilda Smith. Esther was the last surviving child of five.
Mama spent her childhood years on her father’s farm where she enjoyed spending time with him. He loving called her his little “Esee Darling” while she shadowed him as he went about his daily farm chores. To her brothers, Mama was the sole provider of the sweet water that came from the trees above. She would climb the coconut trees, for her brothers couldn’t, and toss the coconuts down to her brothers for chopping and consuming.
At the age of 19, Mama began a relationship with Alfonso Burke, the brother of her school friend. They married four years later. Together, they built a life in Kingston, Jamaica where they had four children. Mama’s days were filled with love and warmth as she raised her children and maintained a household. During this time she pursued her love for crocheting and sewing, making clothes for her children. She was married to Alfonso for roughly seven years when they divorced after his migration to England. She later met Roy Albert Allen, who cared for her and her four children. Mama and Roy had two more children, creating a family of eight.
With six children, life wasn’t always easy, but no one outside of the family knew their struggles. Mama’s children were always immaculately put together despite the lack of funds. She stemmed from a proud background and she ensured her children carried themselves with that same pride. By this time, Mama’s sewing skills had reached a state of perfection. She could take an old house curtain and turn it into a magnificent outfit that all wanted to wear. With her children as her models, everyone in Spanish Town wanted to where one of Mama’s creations. She became a well sought after seamstress, making wedding gowns, original designs, and always keeping up with the latest trends.
1987, Mama migrated to the Bronx, New York where she resided with one of her daughters. She travelled to Virginia to live with her youngest child for a couple of years before returning to New York. Her time in New York was spent aiding, sometimes raising, her 21 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren. She continued to sew and became a huge fan of wrestling (WWE).
In 2007, Mama moved to South Florida where she lived out her remaining days with her daughter Loreen doing the things she loved. She enjoyed family gatherings; trips to Disney, Jamaica, & Georgia; sewing for family and friends; watching wrestling; and loving on her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and five great great grandchildren.
Mama is preceded in death by her eldest daughter Lafern Burke(1989) and her granddaughter Suzette Chung (2018). She is survived by her children: Lorna Burke, Lincoln Burke, Loreen Burke, Sandra Frith, and Marie Godette; her many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren; nieces, nephews, and friends.
Mama lived a full life and as God’s child, we will be comforted that she is with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We will never understand, but God’s word to us is “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose…” (Romans 8v28).
In Lieu of Flowers, the family is requesting that donations be sent in Esther Smith’s name to The Pentecostals of Cooper City, 5201 South Flamingo Road, Cooper City Florida 33330. Thank you.
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