A beau­ti­ful and vir­tu­ous woman

Jamaica Gleaner - - FOOTPRINTS -

Con­fu­cius once said: “To be able to un­der all cir­cum­stances to prac­tise five things con­sti­tutes per­fect virtue; th­ese five are grav­ity, gen­eros­ity of soul, sin­cer­ity, earnest­ness and kind­ness.”

The words aptly de­scribe the life of Pan­sie Maeve Por­te­ous. At the ser­vice of thanks­giv­ing for her life, she was hailed as a true Chris­tian who was non-judge­men­tal and whose nat­u­ral charm, quiet dig­nity, un­ruf­fled de­meanour, and grace summed her beauty and en­deared her to ev­ery­one.

Por­te­ous’ life was ded­i­cated to teach­ing and mould­ing lives. This she did for over 40 years, 33 of which were at Claren­don Col­lege (CC) along­side her hus­band, Stan­hope, who was prin­ci­pal. Her ped­a­gog­i­cal skills were also shared with the In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity of the Caribbean (IUC), where she pi­o­neered that in­sti­tu­tion’s devel­op­ment in Claren­don.

The South­ern Re­gional Mis­sion Coun­cil of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cay­man Is­lands hailed Por­te­ous for her work within the church as an el­der, lay preacher, ad­viser and vicechair for nur­ture and ca­pac­ity build­ing.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion praised Por­te­ous as one who was called to the min­istry of teach­ing by the Mas­ter Teacher, one who un­der­stood this call to be her vo­ca­tion, one whose life had been pur­pose­fully nav­i­gated to im­pact the lives of oth­ers, and one who had a win­ning and re­as­sur­ing smile that told ev­ery stu­dent that de­spite the let­ter grade on the pa­per they held, they had great po­ten­tial.

‘Mrs P’, as she was af­fec­tion­ately called, was greatly ad­mired by her past stu­dents at CC. One de­scribed her as “the teacher who loved me, en­abled, em­pow­ered, and trans­formed me into the pow­er­house that some say I have be­come; she who opened her heart and knowl­edge, her text­books and all her re­sources to me”. Th­ese sen­ti­ments were en­dorsed by mul­ti­tudes of ‘CC’-ites’ at the cer­e­mony.

Her chil­dren Marvia, War­ren, Shalise and Hal­dane hon­oured her as a vir­tu­ous woman, a great mother, friend and con­fi­dant, and wife to Stan­hope.

Born April 26, 1945, Por­te­ous’ life of 71 years, to para­phrase a line from the play Julius Cae­sar, “was gen­tle, and the el­e­ments mixed so well in [her] that Na­ture might stand up and say to all the world, ‘This was a [teacher]’.

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