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‘She lived life to the fullest’

Passing of former TTMA president

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

Former Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) president and businesswoman Karen de Montbrun was yesterday remembered not only as an astute and brilliant leader but as a loving, devoted mother, a take-charge big sister and a woman who loved God.

Speaking at her funeral service yesterday, relatives and friends said de Montbrun, who succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on April 15, lived life to the fullest.

 Eulogising her mother at the St Finbar’s RC Church, Diego Martin, de Montbrun’s daughter Anna Lise described her as a “warm and loving mother” who was always there to guide and correct them and always knew how to make them laugh.

 “She encouraged her children to pursue their goals. She supported us in every way possible. Mummy was my best friend, she was always there for me, we were always very close. She taught us to have deep faith and trust in the Lord, the same faith and trust has carried us through these months of illness,” she said. De Montbrun’s oldest son Marc de Montbrun who also spoke through tears  praised his mother and the life that she lived. One of her friends Debra Scott who spoke on behalf of de Montbrun’s closest group of female friends, said she was known for her leadership and organisational skills and took control of the group which acted as a support group.

“She was our encyclopedia and library with photographic memory and attention to the minutest details we relied on her to refresh our fondest memories. She had the ability to relate to all people at all levels, she hungered for knowledge and new experiences and had a love for life that was unsurpassable and demonstrated in every photo of her.

“Karen’s ability to communicate so freely and naturally with the Lord  was inspiring to those who prayed with her,” she said.

While delivering the homily, De Montbrun’s brother, Fr Peter de La Bastide, spoke fondly of his older sister  as someone the entire family looked up to. Reading the first stanza of a poem at the back of the funeral service programme which asked that she be remembered not for her frown but for the times she smiled, he said:

“Thousands of pictures that we have of Karen all have a smile--- every single one. She had a tremendous joy for living and was able to contaminate everyone she came into contact with. 

“In the family we all looked up to her, she was the eldest. But while there are many here who will praise Karen for her wise leadership in the business world, as head of the  TTMA and so on we celebrate Karen over and above that she was a person who loved her God and who was a true missionary in that regard,” he said.

He said she prayed endlessly and the last time he spoke with her before her passing she cried, telling him that she was overwhelmed by all the support and care she had received from so many. 

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