Hartel “Hortense” Campbell, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, daughter and aunt was known and referred to by many as Mom, Mama, G-G-Ma (Great-Grandma), Aunt Hortense, Sister “Tense”, Ms. Morgan and Ms. Campbell. Hortense was born on August 18, 1918 to the late George and Estella Campbell in Top Hill, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, West Indies.
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Hortense was the third of five children. Her parents raised her and her five siblings in a loving, conservative Seventh Day Adventist home. Hortense’s parents relocated to Manchester in St. Elizabeth shortly after her birth and as such, her early childhood years were spent in Devon, St. Elizabeth where she completed her primary education at Devon Primary school.
As a young adult, she moved in Kingston, Jamaica where she met and married her first love, Winston Morgan. Her union with Winston Morgan did not produce children, however, in 1948 she was entrusted to care for her baby brother Sydney’s daughter, Claire, thus becoming her guardian and mother. From there onward, her life was forever changed as this little girl quickly became the center of her universe and was, for the remainder of her life, her pride and joy.
Hortense raised not only Claire as her own but later assumed guardianship for her nephew, Ernest and his wife Roselyn’s children: Mikey, David, Erna (Joy Bells) and Johnny during their extended travels abroad. Her nephew Keith, the only child from her sister Verna, later joined this blended family. She thoroughly enjoyed taking care of the children and was known by them as a strict but loving guardian and disciplinarian.
Hortense took the responsibility and privilege of being a mother and guardian seriously and instilled into the children under her care, the values of having a good character, education, honesty and integrity. Although she was raised as an Adventist, the foundation of her faith in her later years was based on the Unity Church principles. She attended Unity church in Kingston, Jamaica for several years and continued attending the Unity church when she later moved to the U.S. Hortense Campbell was a praying woman and was a profound believer in the power of prayer.
Hortense was known to many far and wide for her kind-heartedness and her exquisite culinary skills. These skills led to her employment at a well-known restaurant called Oxhart where she was given the position as head cook for many years. After leaving Oxhart, Hortense decided to open her own business. She opened a grocery store in a little community of Kingston called Mongoose Town. Her business was not only successful but a blessing to the many families in the neighborhood who struggled to feed their children. She diligently ensured that no family that she knew went without food. This act of kindness resulted in her making life-long friends with her customers and with the neighborhood families. Two of these families included Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson, who had 13 children also, the Nugent family.
In 1969, Hortense migrated to the United States where she served as a caregiver for several families. After some years in the U.S., she missed home and decided to return to Jamaica in1992 where she met and married her second husband, Clifford Clark. Hortense and Clifford lived a humble life in Spanish Town, Jamaica until he preceded her in death. She returned to the U.S. in 1996 and stayed in Brooklyn, NY for a short while before moving to Florida to live with her niece, Roselyn. After being in Florida for a few years and due to her declining health, she moved back to New York where she resided with her daughter, Claire, who lovingly took care of her until her transition early in the morning, April 1st, 2019.
Last year, August 18, 2018, Hortense celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends in true fashion and style. Her great-grandchildren aptly dubbed her “The Dancing Queen” after a stellar performance.
Some of the things that Hortense will be remembered for is her incredibly kind heart, unwavering faith, her courage, determination, strength of character and her deep and abiding love for her family. She will fondly be remembered for her laughter, charm, quick wittedness and her ability to entertain everyone she met with her comical banter and shrewd retorts. We were all blessed to learn so many lessons from her, one of the greatest lessons we learned was to take “one day at a time” and to keep our faith and trust in God.
Hortense lived every bit of her 100 years of life espousing her love of Christ through her treatment of others. She lived life to the fullest with simple pleasures such as chatting with family and friends, watching her favorite game shows: The Price is Right and Jeopardy and reminiscing about her life and the olden days.
Hortense is described as one of the kindest, most loving, generous and funniest souls. Her experience with mothering Claire was the foundation to her imploring others to serve humanity by finding a child and giving them a home, love, a good education and spiritual guidance.
Hortense Campbell was preceded in death by her four siblings: Joyce, Verna, Otto Sydney, and her baby brother, Sydney Lester who recently passed at the end of last year, 2018. She has left to mourn her loss but also to continue the celebration of her life, her daughter, Claire, her grandchildren: Patrick, Anthony and Jacqueline; great-grandchildren: Nia, Malaika and Suriya; Nephews: Ernest Ranglin and Lushington Sydney Campbell; Niece: Roselyn Ranglin; Grand-niece, Erna “Joy”; Grand-nephews: Ernie, Jr. (deceased), Mickey, David and Johnny; Son-in-law, Chester Hardware; Grandson-in-law: C.D. Glin, Jr. and a host of family and friends.
Hortense Campbell--Mom, Mama (Grandma), G-G-Ma (Great-grandma), Auntie, Sister, Friend….oh how we love you! We are forever grateful for the love you showed us and the lessons you taught us! You have left this earth but not our hearts and we already miss you. The fact that you’re no longer here has surly caused us pain, but we’ll hold steadfast to the memories and the laughter etched forever in our memories and our hearts-----and today we say, farewell, Mama…sleep well, Auntie, until we meet again!