Mary Elizabeth West was born on May 17, 1928, in Bluefields, Nicaragua, to the late Violet West. She was the second oldest of seven children (Raymond, Margaret, Gertrude, Icilda, Hortensia, and Albert). When Mary was a small child, the family left Nicaragua and moved to Port Limon, Costa Rica, a place she would view as ‘home’ for the rest of her life.
Young Mary attended school in Costa Rica and sang in the local choir. Following her mother’s example, Mary became a devout Seventh Day Adventist and would start each day at sunrise reading her bible and studying scripture, a practice she would continue until the Lord called her home on July 16th, 2021.
At the age of 19, Mary would meet and marry the love of her life, Justin Segismond Grant. They would remain married, companions, and friends for more than 65 years producing six children, ten grandchildren, and a host of great-grandchildren during that time.
Mary had a passion for baking and sewing, often using both hobbies to supplement the family’s income. Life in Costa Rica was hard during those early years. When Mary’s sister Icilda left to start a new life in America she offered to sponsor Mary’s move to the United States. Mary and Justin leaped at the chance to improve their young family’s life.
Starting in 1962 and continuing in stages until 1966, the couple brought their family to America until their last child (baby son Lloyd Chester and eldest granddaughter Jacquiline Arabella Gibb) joined them in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.
Mary’s first American job involved cooking, cleaning, and looking after the children of the Greenbaum family until she landed a position at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
Shortly after settling into their new home in Brooklyn, the family joined Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church, which not only became the center of their faith life but also their social lives. At Bethel, Mary founded and led the Bethel Social Club which was so successful it became a model for similar programs at other Seventh Day Adventist churches around the metropolitan area.
Known for being elegant with a sense of style, especially her attention-grabbing hats, Mary was fond of dressing “to the nines”. She also loved music, mainly Christian classics. In fact, she loved music so much that she wanted to pass along her passion to her children. She and Justin scrimped and saved to buy the children a full-sized Baldwin piano and paid for lessons until they were well into their teen years.
Mary also enjoyed traveling. Her trips included two voyages on the Queen Elizabeth 2, as well as Scotland, Germany, and other countries. However, her biggest thrill came when she was able to visit and pray in the city of Jerusalem and floating in the Dead Sea.
After retirement, Mary and Justin relocated to Spring Hill, Florida, in 2001. They enjoyed spending their time traveling between their homes in Florida and Limon, Costa Rica, as well as visiting grandchildren and friends across the United States.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Justin (2010), her beloved granddaughter Jacqueline Arabella Gibb (2019), and her sister Icilda Harrison (2020). She is survived by her brother Raymond, daughter Loida Griselda, and her five sons, Eduardo Guillermo, Lorenzo Gilberto, Lloyd Chester, Clifford (Leroy), and Clifton. Her grandchildren, Deborah, Derrick, Eduardo Jr., Justin II, Marcus, Ramona, Pamela, Lydia, and Lorenzo Jr. Great-grandchildren Jeremy, Jazmin, Justin, Isaiah, Genesis Nichelle, Egypt, Nairobi, Memphis, Nariah, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends.
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