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‘Beautiful girl’ leaves legacy full of love

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Joyce Pearman, who with her husband Edric formed the island’s longest-married couple, has been lovingly recalled by her family after her death at the age of 95.

“She was a beautiful girl — I don’t know how she put up with me for all those years,” her husband told The Royal Gazette.

“We have eight children and 37 grandchildren, and to me they are the best family in the world. I am going to miss her.”

Mrs Pearman, who died on May 22, was interred on Saturday by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, with whom she served for more than 35 years, affectionately known as “Sister Pearman”.

A lifelong resident of St George’s, Mrs Pearman was born in 1920 to Oscar and Gwendoline Brown, growing up with brothers Reginald and Earl in the family home on Wellington Back Road.

Her son Michael said she had led an adventurous childhood: “I guess you could call her a tomboy. While other girls were worrying about their hair and make-up, Joyce was at Flat Rock, a favourite swimming hole at that time.”

In her early years she met the love of her life, who shared her fondness for swimming. The two were close for 85 years, and would have marked their 75th anniversary this July. Justly famed in the East End for her cooking, Mrs Pearman’s employers were said to have pleaded for her to stay on as a housekeeper after she married in 1941, but taking care of her family became her job for life.

In later years, she insisted on helping to raise her grandchildren as well.

The couple bore six girls before having two boys: Shirley Blakeney, Aleathea Rabain, Constance Simmons, Irene Paynter and Joanne, Christine, Michael and Kenneth Pearman

The family’s abundance of girl children, who spun their own fashions with their family-made clothes, was a matter of neighbourhood comment.

Mrs Pearman was often seen leading her family out for summer picnics and swims at Fort St Catherine Beach, or on her husband’s charter boat, The Parrot.

Her son remembered her as a disciplinarian with a strong dislike of gossip.

“Joyce may have appeared to many as quiet and calm, but don’t take that for weakness,” he said.

“She would put you in your place if it was called for.”

Mildred Hunt, of Heart-to-Heart Marriage Mentoring Ministries, said that she and her husband Allan had always found their relationship unique.

“Joyce adored her man, Edric,” Mrs Hunt said. “She focused on him as if it was only the two of them in the room. At times it appeared that she was very possessive of him in a positive way.

“To us, they were a well-matched couple, both complimenting each other. She was always by his side laughing at his jokes, smiling with contentment. She enjoyed her husband driving her around the island, just the two of them.

“What a legacy to leave behind for her adult children, their spouses, and their grand- and great-grandchildren.”

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