Katurah Carty-Shirley (Miss Ketchie), 84, of Bullhead, Sandy River in Clarendon, Jamaica, as well as Brooklyn and Queens in New York, United States of America (USA), gained her wings on Sunday, 13 March 2022, at Long Island Jewish Hospital, ending a period of illness.
She was born to Susan Nelson and Alexander Carty, 6 February 1938, in the farming community of Bullhead.
Consequent on the migration of her father to England, Miss Ketchie grew up with her mother who enrolled her at Staceyville Primary School, formerly Staceyville All Age.
She went on to become a seamstress and a housewife in Jamaica where her 12 children were born. One of them, Yolanda, however, died as a baby.
A watershed year for Miss Ketchie was 1980, when she wedded Isaac Shirley, the father of her children. In that same year, she also left Jamaica in search of a better life in the USA, thanks to her late sister Cassilda Ashmeade who had migrated earlier.
Not turning her back on the family she left behind, Miss Ketchie eventually facilitated the migration of her husband, her 11 children, as well as her first grand daughter.
When she arrived in the USA, Miss Ketchie initially settled at Brooklyn in New York, where she juggled various jobs for a few months until she landed a permanent one as a lab assistant at Rockefeller University, renamed Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She worked there for 30 years until her retirement in October 2010.
During her stint at the institute, Miss Ketchie, the workaholic, also cleaned offices and did other odd jobs. She did two of them on Saturdays before heading to choir practice. Yes, she enjoyed singing and listening to the likes of Grace Thrillers, Marlon ‘Bro Paul’ Anderson, and Bob Marley with whom she shared birthday.
A Christian, Miss Ketchie was affiliated with the Church of God Of Prophecy on Church Avenue in New York City and also in her native Sandy River.
In the kitchen, she was second to none, preparing meals such as fried fish and curried goat, as well as baking black fruit cakes and cakes for weddings. Miss Ketchie was known for putting her culinary talent on show especially at church and family events, and also at the bus rides and beach trips she planned and executed.
Above all other things, Miss Ketchie was a philanthropist at heart. She wouldn’t allow visitors to leave her home without a gift, whether it be money, a bottle of peanut butter, a tin of corn beef… something lovely. The people, especially children in and around Miss Ketchie’s native Bullhead community, also benefited immensely from her benevolence. She helped many with back-to-school supplies and at Christmas.
Miss Ketchie is survived by her husband; 11 children – Burnetta, Wilbert, David, Marcia, Alexander, Sonia, Rosemarie, Cerinea, Denroy, Nadeena, and Nicola; 36 grand children; 20 great-grand children; sister Esmina Carty-Brown who lives in England; other relatives and friends.
Two thanksgiving services will be held in honour of Miss Ketchie. The first will be on 8 April 2022 in the United States, at 3915-17 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
The other is set for the day of burial, 16 May 2022, at 11AM, at the Church of God of Prophesy in Sandy River, Clarendon, under the theme: Let Me Tell You About A Strong Woman. A strong woman indeed, Miss Ketchie is missed, sorely.
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