Brooklyn church mourns retired nurse

Chancel Choir at Fenimore United Methodist Churches pays tribute in hymn to Louise Cole.
Photo by Nelson A. King

A Vincentian-born nurse was mourned Sunday, Feb. 11, at a two-hour-long service at Fenimore United Methodist Church in Brooklyn.

Despite the rainy weather, mourners paid their last respects to Louise Cole, a licensed practical nurse (LPN), who died on Feb. 1. She was 85.

“Louise was ambitious and had a strong interest in education,” cousin Anita Wiggins told mourners. “I remember when she decided to go back to school to become a nurse. She would be a mature student, but that didn’t deter her.

“I was proud of her and her ability to stay focused,” said Wiggins, who met Cole in Barbados when Wiggins was 11 years old. “From the day I met her, I felt there was something special about her.

“As years went by, I discovered that something special was her unconditional love for her family,” added Wiggins, in her lengthy tribute, who also read the obituary.

She said Cole never stayed angry with any family members for too long.

“If someone upset her, she would express frustration,” she said. “But, if that person needed her, she would be there for them.

“Her expression of love for her family extended to her cousins, too,” Wiggins added. “She was like a big sister to me. Louise showed me and my family so much love.”

One of Cole’s nieces, identified only as Denise, 24, also said Cole was very loving and caring.

“If I go to her house, she would ask, ‘where is my boy [Denise’s 4-year-old son],’” she said. “Auntie Louise was that joy.”

An unidentified nephew said Cole loved gardening, disclosing that her backyard garden in Brooklyn was “turned into a jungle.

“That garden is how she dealt with the struggles of life,” he said. “Her garden was her sanctuary. Her cooking was her sanctuary.”

Niece Deidre Alexander said “this has been a particularly trying time for the family,” with the loss of family members in relatively quick succession.

Cole’s brother, Lester Jack (right), and other family members mourn her passing.
Photo by Nelson A. King

“I think I realize how stylish she was – the hat, the jewelry, the coat,” Alexander said about her late aunt.

“Aside from her epic New Year’s dinner, it was those dresses that I’ll have fond memories of Aunty Louise,” she added.

Cole was born on Jan. 7, 1933 to Dorcus and Eli Cole in Evesham, in the Marriaqua Valley, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She was the first of four children in the union.

At an early age, Cole migrated to Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean, with her parents, where she spent her formative years and attended elementary through high school.

According to the obituary, Cole was a devoted member of the Methodist Church in San Nicholas, Aruba’s second largest town, where most immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean reside. At the church, she taught Sunday School and was a member of the Girls’ League.

In December 1954, Cole returned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and continued her church activities at the Evesham Methodist Church, where she also taught Sunday School, and became a Class Leader and member of the Women’s League.

On Jan. 1, 1961, at 27, Cole migrated to Brooklyn, where she lived until her death.

In her early years in Brooklyn, she worked in a factory and then pursued nursing, working in private duty until retirement.

Cole continued her devotion to Methodism in Brooklyn, and was a member of Fenimore Street United Methodist Church and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

“Sis. Louise had a lot going on,” said the Rev. Dr. Maxine Nixon, pastor of Fenimore Street United Methodist Church, in her homily. “We thank Sis. Louise for her legacy – her cooking, her fashion; she had it going on.

“Sis. Louise made her peace [with the Lord],” Rev. Nixon added. “She was probably one of those sheep, but Jesus drew her to Him.”

Cole is survived by her brother Lester Jack, sister Kathleen Bellamy, and brother-in-law Ronald Bellamy, among many relatives and friends.

She was interred on Feb. 12 at Canarsie Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Anita Wiggins eulogizes Louise Cole.
Photo by Nelson A. King

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