Saturday, December 16, 2017

A woman of great faith

Govt, media pay tribute to Therese Mills at her funeral:


farewell, beloved: Michelle Mills views a portrait of her mother, Therese Mills, during her funeral service yesterday, at the Church of The Nativity, Crystal Stream, Diego Martin. Looking on is veteran journalist and Newsday associate editor John Babb, third from right. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

Mark Fraser

Scores of mourners gathered yesterday to pay tribute to News­day editor-in-chief Therese Mills at the Church of The Nativity, Crystal Stream, Diego Martin. 

Mills, 85, died on New Year’s Day. 

A wide cross-section of dignitaries attended, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed, Congress of the People (COP) political leader Prakash Rama­dhar and Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade Mark. 

Several members of the media fraternity also attended. They were joined by Mills’s chil­­dren, Michele, Suzanne and Roger. 

Mass was celebrated by Frs Clyde Harvey, Emmanuel Pierre, Gregory Augustine and Kenneth Assing. 

Michele Mills read the eulogy for her “beloved mummy” who valued education. 

She said: “She always set high standards for her children and encouraged them to pursue the highest educational goals. She taught us the value of hard work.” 

Along with former Express journalist Davan Maharaj, who is now editor of the Los Angeles Times in the US, Mills was conferred with an hon­o­rary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) du­ring the pre­sentation of graduates in 2012 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus.

Describing her mother as a “woman of great faith”, Mi­chele said she attended midday mass and said special mass for her children and loved ones during times of joy, success and difficulties. 

Although Mills was a powerful woman who wielded tremendous influence, Michele said she was “private. A simple woman operating in a public arena”. 

Moving to her illustrious career, Michele said she was “pri­vileged to have a profession she loved. She was a natural organiser. She did not get into gossip. She would share valuable and lifelong lessons”. 

On a personal note, Mills lived by the maxims that “everything has a reason” and “no­thing happens before its time”. 

Nephew Roger Barratt read an excerpt from Romans 14:7-9.

Augustine delivered the homily, in which he made reference to “icons, heroes, mentors and exemplars”. He reminded the congregation Christ was the Good Shepherd whose heart went out to a crowd of people. 

Making reference to Mills’ life, Augustine said: “The first aspect (Good Shepherd) is a person who belongs to the kingdom. He or she recognises we must take time and care for our friends and family. It must not be a quick fix. It must not be in a vikey-vie manner She, too, taught, guided and showed care at length. There was no shoddiness. There was no quick fix. She did it with love, care and devotion.”

Augustine also made reference to Christ distributing the five loaves and fishes.

He said: “Are we to give some­thing? Therese used her talents to influence, guide and steer in the way of life. There was an orderly woman. And no­thing was done in a vikey-vie manner. Whatever she got involved in, she gave her best. And that is the caring Mark speaks about in the Gospel.” 

He added: “And though we are sad at her passing, we must admire the sense of satisfaction and well-being that she has left us in a better place. People of faith do not submit to the view that heroes are a thing of the past. Heroes in our minds continue to function and give love, and that is the person of Therese Mills. She strove for the upliftment and betterment of our society.”

Harvey said Mills was “a tem­ple of the Holy Spirit through­out her life”. During a visit to her home, Harvey said she told him she would pray for journalists. 

He invited the congregation to pray for the “fourth estate” because it can sometimes be a “jungle out there”

List of mourners

Among those who had gathered to pay their final respects to Mills were the Newsday staff and members of the media, including Denzil Parris, John Babb, Camille Moreno, Horace Monsegue, Lennox Grant, Judy Raymond, Suzanne Shepherd, Gail Alexander, Valentino Singh, Arthur Dash, Noel Saldenha, Maxie Cuffie and Ian Gooding. 

They were joined by former principal of Arima Government Secondary School Jean War­ner, political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah, businesswo­man Hannah Janoura, fashion designer Peter Elias and former copy editor Beverly Merrin.