Meet Jeanette who hails from the tiny island in the West Indies known to many as Antigua or Wadadli. “Wadadli,” the name given by the Arawak Indians who first inhabited the island, which means “land of sun, sea and sand,” denotes a place that boasts 365 white sandy beaches—one for each day of the year. Antigua is located in the heart of the Caribbean.

Jeanette was born on February 11, 1938 and was the fifth child of Samuel and Kathrine F.. Jeanette spent her early childhood in Antigua where she enjoyed sports, especially running track. She attended Greenbay Primary School and was a good student receiving good grades. At the age of 13 she immigrated to the United States to live with her Aunt Francis and Uncle Montgomery in the Bronx in New York City. Prospect Junior High, PS 140, The Eagle School, and Morris High School were where Jeanette continued her early education. Later she studied at Hunter College before pursuing a nursing career at Lincoln School for Nurses. Founded in 1898 in the Bronx, it was the first school of its type in the United States created to train black women to become nurses during a time when such education was not available to African Americans. Upon graduating from nursing school Jeanette began working at Lincoln Hospital where she spent about two and a half years as a trauma nurse. After her time at Lincoln, Jeanette continued to work in various emergency rooms across the Bronx.

As a young nursing student, Jeanette built a strong network of friends among her classmates. She developed several close relationships, most of which would become like family and some of which flourish and are an important facet of her life today. One special friendship was with Claudia, a childhood friend. Many friends were considered “aunts,” “uncles” and “cousins” to her children and it was one of the many friendships she cultivated that led her to the man she would marry, Douglas, who hailed from the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

After being introduced to Douglas by her dear friends Arlene and Claude, Jeanette and Douglas married on September 3, 1962. Together they had three children—Alyson (deceased), Jennifer and Douglas. They lived together in Queens, New York, for approximately 30 years. Jeanette, always a gracious and welcoming hostess, opened her home to several family members and close friends over the course their residency in Queens.

Jeanette attended Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens, for the entire time that she lived in New York. Her church life has always been very important to her. After moving to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and then to Silver Spring, Maryland, she became actively engaged with local churches. In Queens, she led Boy Scout troops, girls groups, taught Sunday school and was an active member of the Vestry (the governing body of the church). At her current church, St. Mary Magdalene, she is the founder of a program that feeds men in a homeless shelter once a month.

Jeanette became a part of our Kensington Park family in May 2018. She is kind and always willing to lend a helping hand. She enjoys crossword puzzles and reading, and you can often find her doing either of these while waiting for the next activities program to begin. She also enjoys old movies, mysteries, westerns and musicals. Watching British television shows such as Downtown Abbey, Doc Martin, and Miss Marple is also among her favorite pastimes. Please be sure to say hello to Jeanette whenever you stop by the Groves!

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