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Mrs. Irona Jackson Sobryan

Born on 11-1-1907. She was born in Georgetown, Guyana,.
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On November 1, 2011, Irona Jackson, nee Sobryan, fondly known as Aunt Ronie to all her nieces and nephews, celebrated her 104th birthday with her family. A little more than four years ago, on August 11, 2007, the extended Jackson and Sobryan families, in anticipation of her 100th birthday, held a party for Irona in Brooklyn, New York. Children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and other extended relatives and friends, came from several states in the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and England to celebrate this auspicious occasion with Irona. Looking both regal and lovely, Irona received our recognition with the same equanimity and humility she had displayed throughout her life. It was a proud day for the Jackson and Sobryan families. OUR TRIBUTE TO AUNT RONIE.

Apart from the personal tributes, the community paid recognition to Irona. Through a Proclamation issued by the Office of the President of the Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, August 11, 2007 is known as Irona Jackson 100th Birthday Celebration Day. Not to be outdone, the Proclamation issued by the Council for the City of New York honored Irona for her long service to the City and community of New York for having enriched New York City with her presence. In addition, her family fittingly honored her with a signature pin from the Uncrowned Queens Institute. Today, more than ever, as the life force continues to course through Irona's body, we honor her as a "Queen" in her own right for living the good life for as long as she has, for her endurance under trying circumstances and for exemplifying a life of humility, warmth and compassion.

Irona Jackson was born on November 1, 1907 in Georgetown, Guyana (formerly British Guiana), South America. She was the eldest child of three children born to her parents. Needless to say, Irona lived longer than her parents and outlived her siblings, her only sister passing at the age of 25 and her brother at 94 years.

On December 26, 1928, just after her 21st birthday, Irona married Peter Oscar Jackson, an agriculturalist, who was born in Mahaica, in Guyana. Irona bore 11 children and dedicated her life to her family. She is the nucleus that nurtured, stabilized and sustained her family.

Irona was an excellent home-maker. She enjoyed crocheting, baking and sewing and shared her knowledge and skill in these areas with others. Since Peter's work as an agriculturalist required him to travel into Guyana's interior, she steadfastly bore the rigors of life in Guyana's interior and the inconvenience caused by frequently having to set up home in a new location. Long after her children had reached adulthood, Irona continued to enjoy a fulfilling relationship with Peter, traveling with him outside of Guyana as the occasion arose. When most of their children had immigrated to the United States, Irona and Peter, then in their seventies, settled in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1980's.

Irona was fiercely independent! As Peter's health began to deteriorate, Irona was faithful in her ministrations on his behalf. She cooked, cleaned, ironed for them both. When Peter passed in 2003, the two had enjoyed a marital relationship of 74 years and 7 months. Irona was then approaching her 96th birthday. Today, at 104 years, Irona has proven wrong all those who felt that she would not tarry long after Peter's transition.

Humble and unpretentious, of gentle mine and disposition, Irona greeted everyone with a warm, welcoming smile. Her laughter had a musical ring to it; her eyes a mischievous twinkle. She spoke slowly and softly, but deliberately. She was never opinionated or judgmental, but took life as it came. Never a harsh word was to be heard issuing from her lips. She was down to earth and therefore capable of easily interacting with anyone who chanced to cross her path. The fine offspring of East Indian and African parents, she was unaffected by racism and extended a compassionate hand to those persons in need. Not taken in by the luxurious, she made the best of the circumstances life dished up on her plate. She was therefore a fitting soul to be the parent of her last child, a daughter, born with Down Syndrome.

Ingrid Jackson (Pinky, as the family affectionately called her) was born about 1949 when Irona was approximately 42 years old. She found her way into the heart of each family member and this is not to be wondered at for she was a very trusting and patient person, one you may recognize as a spiritually pure soul, guaranteed a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pinky enjoyed a full life. Irona dressed Pinky in the prettiest of clothes. Her silky black hair was always well combed in two long pony tails reaching down her back, just about her waist. Irona taught Pinky the essentials of taking care of herself when adolescence approached and took pride in the strides Pinky made under her care. Pinky traveled with her parents on vacation both in and out of Guyana. Her medical condition notwithstanding, Pinky was always well mannered and polite, a testament to her inner personality and the love, care and attention she received from Irona and Peter. The challenges of raising Pinky must have fostered greater love and unity between Irona and Peter for they never stopped trying to find ways to improve her condition, both medically and educationally.

Pinky left this earth at the age of 21 in 1971 in Guyana. Though her passing left a gaping hole in the heart of her parents, their love, care and concern is the legacy our family has inherited.

Irona's resilient nature saw her through her bereavement at Pinky's passing. It is this same resilience that she cultivated to see her through Peter's passing and that of her son, George Jackson, who became her dedicated caretaker when she could not manage as well for herself. Today, another son, Leonard, takes care of Irona as she lives in a house owned by her grandson and his wife and in which the chatter of two great-grandchildren must be music to her ears.

Admittedly, Irona did not carry any placards or join any marches, neither was she the first woman to accomplish anything noteworthy on the social or national scene. Yet, like the flowers who silently, but perpetually, waft their sweet scent to us and spread joy into our hearts, enabling us to persist against the trials and challenges of life on earth, Irona created an atmosphere of warmth and love without which environment positive members of society do not thrive and grow.

At 104, she is the matriarch of the entire Jackson and Sobryan families. As the only living family member of her generation, we cherish her. She is the embodiment of all the values our families cherish and, without which, the success we, their descendants, enjoy, would not have been as assured. If asked, "What is her secret to long life and health?" we believe that Irona would answer, "simplicity, humility, love and compassion." Others, observing her, would add forbearance and freedom from malice. We honor Irona in fitting recognition of God's blessings of long life and salvation to her.