Stollmeyer Wight remembered as champion for charity, service

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A moko jumbie waves a flag with a picture of Kathryn Ann Baxter Stollmyer-Wight during her funeral at the All Saints Anglican Church, Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, on Monday. In the picture, Stollmyer-Wight is holding a sign that says, “I am a Trinidadian, the ‘onliest’ place I am going back to is Tobago.” – AYANNA KINSALE

Whether it was her career as a flight attendant or her roles as a philanthropist and mother, Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight was remembered for her compassion and strong sense of duty.

Stollmeyer Wight, 67, died on February 16. She suffered from hereditary pulmonary fibrosis and was given two years to live five years ago.

She was actively involved in several charitable organisations, including Habitat for Humanity, which works for the right to decent housing.

She was a descendant of Charles Fourier Stollmeyer, who built Stollmeyer’s Castle in 1904.

Her funeral was held at the All Saints Anglican Church, Marli Street, Queen’s Park West on Monday, and attracted throngs of mourners, including representatives from different charitable organisations she worked for and former co-workers from the now defunct British West Indian Airways (BWIA), who paid their last respects.

From left, widower of Kathryn Ann Baxter Stollmeyer Wight, Gregory Wight, granddaughter Sloane Pena, with children Sophie, Jeffrey, and Ada Kate Wight pose for a photo with moko jumbies during her funeral at the All Saints Anglican Church, Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, on Monday. – AYANNA KINSALE

An outdoor viewing area with a tent, chairs and speakers were set up on the lawn of the church to facilitate the large turnout of mourners.

During his eulogy, Stollmeyer Wight’s husband of 43 years, Gregory Wight, said his wife would be remembered as someone who dedicated her time and attention to helping others.

“Her parents were very kind and welcoming from day one and I soon got to observe the loving, caring and giving personality.

“Kathryn was very much like her parents who she adored and so often putting other people’s concerns first. So much so, one of her favourite cousins from Vancouver, Canada, describes her as a gift.”

He said, in addition to her sharp wit and nurturing nature, Stollmeyer Wight would also be known for her organisational skills and would work tirelessly to ensure success in her various endeavours.

“She really was a one-in-a-million personality. Whether it was raising children, working at BWIA, carrying out charitable activities, running a political campaign or organising Stollmeyer family reunions, she continued summoning up the energy to initiate and complete a complex series of tasks to make things happen.

“Everything was always done to the highest standards of grace, style and elegance.”

Stollmeyer Wight served as campaign manager for Nicole Dyer-Griffith in the Congress of the People (COP) in the 2007 and 2010 general elections.

Wight said oxygen equipment used by his wife would be donated to the underprivileged.

Moko jumbies follow the hearse of Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight at her funeral at the All Saints Anglican Church, Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, on Monday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Stollmeyer Wight’s children Jeffrey, Sophie and Ada-Kate also paid tribute to their mother.

During his homily Fr Carlisle Pemberton said Stollmeyer Wight exemplified the Gospel’s teachings and implored mourners to serve the less fortunate with the same selflessness she was known for.

Noting that many Christians were observing the Lenten season, Pemberton said one of the principles of the season was to not only engage in more prayer, but also practise more charity and outreach.

“If you see a brother or sister without food, we must turn and not only wish him well and sympathise with the person, but get out there and provide food for that person. Those are the kinds of good works that Kathryn actually excelled at. And the sister is suggesting that more of us should take up the mantle. And so the plea is for us to continue the good works that she started and continued for so many years, but we must also have faith.”

Pemberton read a letter given to him by one of Stollmeyer Wight’s friends in which she described her service to others as answering God’s call.

While some mourners had to be consoled by others, a generally festive atmosphere emerged at the end of the ceremony, as some mourners waved BWIA flags and clapped their hands in time with the music, which included several soca songs.