December 2, 2020


Pin It

QueenieSEPT. 16TH 1914 – FEB 8TH 2013

Gertrude Laurie Bodden, nee Panton was born on the 16th of September   1914 to Albert and Effie Panton.

She was their last child and only girl.   Preceding her were five brothers, Ashford, Bertie, Stanley, Ernest and Willie.  When visiting after her birth, an aunt, Christine, said, “My goodness, look at Cousin Effie’s little queenie,” hence the nickname,   ‘Queenie.’      However, since that time she acquired many more:  Queen-Queen, Tru-Trude, Trudie-Pudie, Momsie and, finally, her son, Ernie, who faithfully took her for a drive every Sunday afternoon   for at least 2 to 3 hours, nick-named   her  ‘Asphalt’   because, he said, she was on the road more than asphalt was! And, later on, you will hear why.

Prog Cover Queenieweb1It goes without   saying that she was the apple of her father’s eye and she was adored and spoiled by her mother and brothers.         She had a wonderful, privileged and happy childhood   and a host of friends, one of them being Ms. Elizabeth Hurlston, nee Hutchings, whose father was the Commissioner   for a time.  Her one complaint   was that their home was always crowded with people.   Her father was the Clerk of Court and also the, immigration-boarding officer and entertained   often.   Her mother was very sweet, kind and generous and every evening their front porch was full of people, many of whom were  ‘girlfriends’   but also people who were less fortunate   and who never left without something   in their hand.

Her grandfather, James C. Panton, had been one of the first educators   on the island.  She attended   Ms. Josie’s school-   Josie being Ms. Elizabeth’s sister.  Three of her brothers attended   Calabar College in Jamaica and she very badly wanted to go to Hampton   College there, along with her friend, Veta, and her sister, Valda, her mother, however, would not permit it.

Although   there were other boyfriends, she fell for one of the most handsome guys on the island, William Wallace Bodden, who lived  ‘down North’.   She lived  ‘up South.’    Ms. Gwendolyn   Wood, of blessed memory, told us that when her mother, Ms. Hermina, saw Mom approaching   in her father’s car, she would run to her back yard and shout out to Daddy who lived a short distance from her, “Will, she’s coming!”  Daddy would then hop on his bicycle to go and meet her on the road.

Prog Photos Queenie-1webBecause the two of them came from completely   different backgrounds, their marriage was not without   its difficulties, but they dearly loved each other.   They were married in 1936 and were blessed with five children: Zoe, Kathryn  (Kay), Churchill, Elizabeth  (Bessie), and Ernest  (Ernie).   Her father was to die in 1939 and her mother in 1948.   When World War II broke out in 1939, life changed drastically.

Our father worked at the Naval Base, but when the war ended there was no work and he went to Panama for three years when the canal was being constructed   and then to Venezuela for two years. Life was very difficult for Mom having   to shoulder all the responsibilities   during this time.  Here we have to say what a great support her brother, Ernest and his wife, Norma were to her.   It was remarkable that this spoiled and privileged girl who grew up with a butler, housekeeper, washerwoman   – and probably another   cook  – as well as a gardener would develop into the responsible, capable, and efficient person  – and also a great mother.

In 1975, we moved to a new home that our father built on Memorial Avenue but she was never very happy there because she could not  “see the sea.”   In 1994 we moved again, to our present home, which is nearer the water and next door to Kay and where she had the upstairs bedroom, decorated   in pink, that she always wanted.

By this time, it was obvious that she was suffering with dementia, which progressed slowly through the years.  On her 83rd birthday, while still cognizant   of what was going on, we decided to have a special dinner for her at the Grand Pavilion with 100 of her friends and family.

Sometime   in the 80’s, she had bought herself a car and was always on the road.   She and her beloved helper, Violet Myles, found an excuse to go shopping every day! She, Miss Una and Ms. Ena Watler did not miss any event that was happening.    Early in the morning, Monday through Friday, they all went swimming at Smith’s Cove, meeting up with Mary and Norberg, Betty Lou, Dortha and others.  When it became too crowded there they went to the Public Beach.  Here we would like to say a very special thank you to Mary (and Nordberg, of blessed memory)  – and sometimes Betty Lou – who would stop by for Mom.  This continued   for many years until it became too difficult for Mom to get out of the water.

More than anything   else, Mom loved to be in God’s house.  For a time, a typical Sunday was spent attending the 9:00 a.m. service, Bible study in the hall from 10:20 to 10:50, back to the 11 o’clock service and then home for lunch.  At  2:30 she would be taken for a drive by Emie, after which she changed her clothes, had supper, and then went to the 7:00 p.m. service!  Then, after church, she would often ask Zoe to take her for a drive!

She was the secretary of the Woman’s Guild for a number of years and also a member of the Garden Club.   She was such a friendly person and had so many friends.    She loved pretty clothes and always looked beautiful.    She loved to travel and almost every year, Zoe would take her and our father on holiday with her. One very special trip was to Vancouver   to visit Rev. and Mrs. Neil Banks.   Mrs. Banks had organized every day of the trip and we had a wonderful time.

In 2004, on the Sunday morning during Hurricane   Ivan, our house was viciously struck on the north gable-end, causing the ceiling to collapse on top of Mom.   Her facial injuries were superficial but gable-end, causing the ceiling to collapse on top of Mom.   Her facial injuries were superficial but something   had driven very deeply into her leg.  This took over six months   to heal, resulting in her legs weakening.   As a result, in 2006 she fell and cracked her hip.  While in hospital, one of her dearest friends and neighbors from childhood, Veta Bodden Merren, died and we gratefully acquired one of her nurses, Minerva Benliss, who along with our helper, Ester, has cared for her so beautifully.  From that time on, her health deteriorated.  She was in hospital in September, October and November   of last year for about a week each time and then again in January for 11 days.

On February 7th she was admitted for the last time and died on the following day of pneumonia, just five minutes after Rev. Dave had prayed,  “though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death  – he is with you.”

Her husband, Will Wallace, preceded her in death on 3rd August 1999.

Left to mourn her loss is daughters Zoe, Kay, Bessie and family, her sons Churchill and Ernie and their families,Minerva & Esther, and a host of other relatives and friends.


From Joan (Watler) Wilson:

A service in Loving Memory of the life of the late Gertrude Laurie “Queenie” Bodden (nee Panton) was held at Elmslie Memorial United Church, George Town, Grand Cayman on Saturday February 16th, 2013.

Officiating members at the service were Rev. Dr. Dave Hazle and Pastor James Arch.

The church was packed as was expected to pay homage to this lovely lady who brought so much pleasure to all of us who knew her.

There were many tributes from the family and friends.

Pastor Alson Ebanks sang his own composition at the service “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over”.

Hymns sung at the service were “All The Way My Saviour Leads Me”, Amazing Grace”, and  “My Jesus, My Saviour”.






Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind